University to offer students chance to help others, travel during time off school

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While most students will be heading home or elsewhere for fall break, some will be helping the homeless in Detroit.

The Office of Service-Learning is hosting a new way for students to get involved called Bowling Green Alternative Breaks.

Junior Maddi Georgoff is the president and helped found the program.

“An alternative break is a service trip that happens over the academic breaks during the year,” Georgoff said. “It’s focused on social issues so it’s more about doing volunteer work.”

The program will start during fall break in Detroit, and students will be focusing on homelessness and poverty.

“The intention for this [break] is that we have 14 students with us,” Georgoff said. “That will be including two or three of our board members so there are about 11 spots open with the applications right now.”

Because this is the first break the office is starting for the program, it is aiming for a smaller group of students, Georgoff said.

“We are trying to have a really good break trip, then, in the future have several trips going out at once,” she said. “There are a lot of universities that have 20 different breaks going out per spring break.”

Students on the break will be working with two different non-profit organizations and community partners.

“Those will be Cass Community Social Services and Motor City Blight Busters,” Georgoff said. “They provide housing, meals and employment opportunities to the homeless.”

Senior Antoinette Liwag isn’t involved with the trip, but said she thinks working with the homeless is a good way to reach out and help.

“It’s a good idea for students to have an option of getting involved,” Antoinette said. “Having the University as a direct link for the students is really good and to have them working with issues like homelessness and minorities can help students experience new things.”

Jane Rosser, the director of the Office of Service-Learning, hopes this first trip will serve as a foundation for future trips.

“The role of our office is to support all kinds of immersion and experiential learning,” Rosser said. “I have been interested in opportunities that break trips can have and we have had some amazing trips going out of BGSU but we would like to see more of them.”

This program is an intiative to build a five-year plan with student-run leadership and to create a sustainable model, Rosser said.

Georgoff thought of bringing the alternative breaks to other students at the University after she went on one herself during the summer.

“Especially since the BG community is so close to Toledo and Detriot, yet we look down upon them and the media is not so positive about what is happening, I thought they needed some advocates,” Georgoff said.

Students can sign up to go on alternative breaks by filling out an application on the University website.

Georgoff is hopeful for the trip and wants students to take away positive experiences.

“It’s a meaningful experience that stays in your conciousness for a while and hopefully transforms the way you see the world,” she said.