This archived article was written by: Austin Ashcraft
Every year, the SUN Center sponsors a group of students to go on an alternative spring break trip. This year, the group plans to spend their vacation time serving people on the Navajo Reservation.
The SUN Center has had a long history of alternative spring break trips, dating back to the 1994-1995 school year. The group is part of the National Alternative Break Connection. Its Executive Director Jill Piacitelli is a CEU Alumnus. The National Alternative Break Connection was started with a simple idea. A student saw others across the nation using their spring break to go on a vacation with their friends and get drunk. The foundation was started as a result of the idea that students should instead do something wholesome. The foundation’s motto, “skip the beer to volunteer,” illustrates that principle nicely.
This year will mark the sixth time that the Breakaway Club has gone to serve on the Navajo Reservation. In previous years, the group has stayed and worked in Bluff, Utah, near Blanding. Projects have ranged from helping with sheep herd, building corrals, preparing farmland for planting, built wheelchair ramps, painted hogans and even built outhouses for the people of the Navajo Nation. This year, the group was requested to go to Navajo Mountain, a secluded area just south of Lake Powell, on the Utah-Arizona border. Projects will include house construction, pruning fruit orchards and digging irrigation ditches. The whole point of these breakaway trips is to allow students to perform service in ways that they would otherwise not be able to in their own community, and the students benefit from it as well.
SUN Center Adviser Kathy Murray has participated in each of these trips and loves the results that she sees. “It just changes people’s lives. Not only those whom we serve, but the students themselves. It helps them realize that there are people in this world that are in need of help. It helps them learn things they otherwise would not know.”
The attending students are Anna Macdonald, Austin Ashcraft, Autumn Sutton, Benoni Sowah, Courtney Reynolds, Dallen Garvin, Elcio Dutra, J.J. Glasson, Julia Potts, Keera Allred, Katie Cloward, Kami Johnson, Kent Keele, Kance Deeter, Miranda Parkinson, Mini Bowman, Rachel Ryan, Ryan Giles, Time Nielson, Tori Frame and Webb Whatcott