Preparations begin for alternative break

Alternative break would focus on community service in Buffalo area

Maris Lambie, Reporter

SUNY Buffalo State is once again offering a chance for students to spend their breaks giving back to the community.

The Volunteer and Service-Learning Center is organizing an alcohol- and drug-free trip for students who aren’t interested in a “traditional break.”

“It’s a way to learn about issues through actively volunteering,” said VSLC member and Buffalo State senior Molly Diamond.

The VSLC began organizing alternative breaks during the spring 2010 semester, but decided to expand and offer a trip during the fall as well.

“Each trip focuses on different social issues in different cities,” Diamond said.

This fall’s alternative break will go from Nov. 7 to Nov. 9 and will focus on honoring veterans and raising awareness on homelessness, all locally in Buffalo.

Students will participate in hands-on activities with Friends of Night People, Unsheltered Ministries and the Buffalo and Erie County Naval Park. Together, students will help with weave mats and cook meals for the homeless, as well as make veterans day cards, clean up the naval park and spend some time getting to know some of Buffalo’s veterans.

“We’ll tell you what to say, what not to say, and how to handle touchy subjects when speaking with vets,” Diamond said.

Lodging for participants will be provided at the Salvation Army on 960 Main St. where cots, storage space and showers will be provided. Groups will consist of eight to 12 students with one staff member to supervise.

“Students will live with their group, plan and prepare meals and reflect on their experiences together,” Diamond said.

Students who don’t have experience cooking don’t need to worry.

“Cooking is done in teams,” said Aurora Schunk, VSLC assistant coordinator. “Nothing is done by yourself and we cook simple things.”

Students interested in joining the trip can find applications online at the VLSC’s website, vslc.buffalostate.edu. The deadline for the application is Friday, Sept. 26, as well as a $30 application deposit, which is due by 5:00 p.m. that day in Cleveland Hall 306. There will also be a final payment of $25 due Friday, Oct. 10. These payments will cover the costs of the trip.

Diamond recommended that students interested in the trip but unable to afford the fees could look into fundraising by selling chocolates from Fowlers.

There will also be orientation meetings for the trip through October. The first one is from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m Tuesday, Oct. 7 in Cleveland Hall 306. These meetings are mandatory for those going on the trip.

“Students find these trips really fun,” Schunk said. “You meet new students you would have never met, and you have an incredible bonding experience. I did it in college and I loved it.”

Maris Lambie can be reached via email at [email protected]