March 28, 2018

Students spend spring break working with Habitat for Humanity

Several members of the student organization, Alternative Spring Break, spent their time assisting Habitat for Humanity in Birmingham, Ala.

Several members of the student organization, Alternative Spring Break, spent their time assisting Habitat for Humanity in Birmingham, Ala.

Students spent the week in Birmingham, Ala., performing a variety of tasks

For many students, spring break is the opportunity to forget about academic responsibilities for a week. Some head for tropical playgrounds while others go home to unwind.

A group of UW-Superior students sought out warmer weather, but not for relaxing on a beach. Several members of the student organization, Alternative Spring Break, spent their time assisting Habitat for Humanity in Birmingham, Ala.

“It gives you this humbling feeling,” said Sky Willam, a senior from Eau Claire, Wis. “It’s giving back to the community. I know it’s not our community, but over the years we’ve been able to meet the homeowners. Just seeing their faces and knowing that I helped someone is really humbling, and I will definitely take that everywhere I go.”

Traveling in two vans, the 10 individuals from UW-Superior which included Online Learning Recruiter and group advisor Brittney Kemi, made the 20-hour drive south to connect with Habitat for Humanity.

“This year was a little different,” said Willam, who this year served as a co-coordinator with the organization. “We went to a different site every day. Most years we are at one site and work with one contractor to build a house.”

Working at different locations provided the group with a variety of tasks, which included everything from installing drywall and hanging siding to interior painting and installing tile.

“What I really enjoy about this trip is that you don’t have to have any experience building homes,” said Willam. “If you’ve never held a power tool, that’s totally OK. If you’ve never touched a screwdriver, that’s totally OK. If you don’t know what those are, that’s OK. They teach you everything when you get down there. The contractors have always been amazing.”

For Willam, a Marketing and International Business major, this was her second trip as part of the Alternative Spring Break organization.

“Last year I went to a few meetings to learn more about what it was,” she said. “The group was going down to Mississippi and that sounded awesome. It was the best thing I’ve ever done. It makes you feel like an amazing person. You’re giving back to the community in a warm place during spring break and the cost is minimal.”

While the spring break trip is the highlight, the organization also volunteers throughout the year in the community and holds monthly meetings on campus. To take part in the spring break trip, students must apply and then pass an interview process.

“The application process isn’t based on grades or area of study,” said Willam. “The interview is a casual chance to see how the candidates answer several questions, present themselves and if they will be a good fit for the trip.”   

When it comes to deciding where in the U.S. the students will be heading, there are a few parameters the Alternative Spring Break organization considers.

“We register with Habitat for Humanity in late fall,” said Willam. “We get choices since they have places everywhere. We have a 20-hour trip maximum and we look to keep the trip under $200 for the student. We then pick our top five places and let our members vote where they would like to go.”

Set to graduate this spring and with her last Alternative Spring Break trip behind her, Willam has no regrets that most of her spring breaks have involved work rather than play.

“It’s an amazing organization,” said Willam. “If someone is looking for something to get involved with, it’s not a big commitment. If we are going out and doing volunteer work around the community, you can come, but you don’t have to come. The spring break trip is just the week of spring break. You only have to give up one week of your time. It’s something that you will hold on to for the rest of your life.”

Several members of the student organization, Alternative Spring Break, spent their time assisting Habitat for Humanity in Birmingham, Ala.

Several members of the student organization, Alternative Spring Break, spent their time assisting Habitat for Humanity in Birmingham, Ala.

UW-Superior Faculty/Staff

RELATED NEWS

GET UW-SUPERIOR NEWS IN YOUR INBOX

You can unsubscribe at anytime

OTHER UW-SUPERIOR NEWS