Students participating in service trip for fall break

Fourteen WCU students will travel to Charleston, South Carolina, through an alternative break program to participate in service projects focused on environmental and poverty-related issues from Saturday, Oct. 11, to Saturday, Oct. 18.

The volunteers will work with groups from Water Missions International to the Low Country Food Bank, said Jennifer Cooper, assistant director of the Center for Service Learning. The group’s service projects will include helping recycle empty oyster shells with the South Carolina Oyster Restoration and Enhancement program, working in school gardens associated with the farm-to-school Green Heart Program and assisting Keep Charleston Beautiful with a marsh cleanup.

Augaly Kiedi, a senior from Raleigh majoring in political science and international studies, helped plan the trip as part of her Catamount Externship with the Center for Service Learning and looks forward to participating.

“We’re so caught up in our own lives sometimes that we forget everything else going on around us; so when there’s an opportunity to step out of our bubbles, it’s important to take it,” said Kiedi. “It helps you see your life in a better perspective.”

Zach Rumble, a graduate student in the College Student Personnel Program and assistant in the Center for Service Learning, said the chance to take part in his second alternative break service trip at WCU was something he eagerly accepted.

“Any group of people who live together for a week form a bond, and, on these trips, it is a group of students motivated to spend their break doing service,” said Rumble. “We learn about each other as we learn about a community and its needs. We get to know people who ultimately become our friends and partners in future service projects. It’s a wonderful experience.”

In addition, a group of 10 students has independently planned to spend fall break assisting Habitat for Humanity with a project in coastal South Carolina.

“This is a newly started tradition that my roommates and I hope to continue even after we graduate,” said Annalee Whitlock, a junior majoring in Spanish and social work. “It is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the company of each other while helping someone else at the same time.”

Whitlock said she and others took a similar service trip to Florida last year.