Students wishing to do good deeds should look no further – alternative break trips are an obvious choice at Bridgewater State University.
This January, a group of Bridgewater State students along with staff will travel to Florida for a week to work with migrant farmers and learn about their conditions.
Migrant farmers work on farms in the United States in order to earn money. The students will live in the homes of migrant farmers, helping them with daily tasks, including working out in the fields. In addition, students will help tutor the children of migrant farmers in their schoolwork.
Rose Gage is the Assistant Director of the Community Service Center, and the Staff Learning Partner for the trip to Florida. Gage said students had expressed interest in immigration issues, and through research, found the Hope Community Center in Apopka, Fla., which is where the migrant farmers are based out of.
“I believed that our students were ready for this trip, which really delves into issues of human rights, immigration, and social justice,” Gage said.
Robert Lawrence, a sophomore majoring in Special Education, Elementary Education, and Geography, is going on the trip. This will be his third alternate break trip.
“I chose to go on this one to learn about a new social issue,” Lawrence said. “I didn’t really know much about immigration before this.”
Students will learn a variety of things from the trip, especially through the experiences of the workers they stay with and help each day.
“There is so much racial profiling, propaganda, and negative stereotypes in the media, which are untrue about migrant farm workers,” Gage said. “Our students will come back more educated about the issues.”
There are two other trips this winter, one to Phoenix, Ariz. and the other to New York, N.Y.
The Community Service Center has grown the alternative break program since it began in 2006.
“Since 2006, we have grown from two trips in one year to six week long trips and two weekend trips,” Gage said. “Every year, we receive over 200 applications for our winter and spring break trips.”
These trips offer students an opportunity to experience another way of life, perhaps one less privileged than their own .
“You learn a lot about yourself and the world while doing it,” Lawrence said. “Everyone should do one before they graduate.”
Kayla Lemay is a Comment staff writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @klemay123.