CCE set to fund five alternative spring break trips

Despite a small decrease in the funding pool, a number of service trips organized by a variety of campus groups will be taking place this coming spring break. Funding, coordinated by the Center for Community Engagement (CCE), has become slimmer in recent years due to recession-driven budget cuts.
“The funds come from all campus sources that are willing to contribute – and we’re very happy to involve those sources in the allocation decisions,” said Rick Spalding, College chaplain and coordinator of community service. “We pull this pool together both to save students the trouble of having to run around individually to all of those offices and entities and to save those offices from having to evaluate each trip proposal without having a sense of the whole landscape of trips that are in the offering.”
Spalding noted that the CCE has been using this process of gathering funds for around four to five years, and “it’s been working better and better as we learn where the wrinkles are and how to smooth them out.”
This year’s funding allotment for these trips, titled “alternative spring break” service trips, was about $12,000 – smaller than last year’s allocation of $13,000 and down from a high point of around $16,000 a few years ago. According to Spalding, the Lehman Council and the CCE each contributed around $5000 to the pool this year, with the rest of the funds coming from the Multicultural Center and the deans’ office.
“In the CCE, we’ve done everything we can to protect as much money as possible for [alternative spring break trips] because they’re such a popular and important learning experience for students,” Spalding said. He explained that trip organizers began the process of applying for the CCE pool in December, with funding awarded by early February to give the groups as much time as possible to raise the remaining amount of money that their trip requires. “We’re never able to come up with the full amount – we just don’t have that much budget,” he said.
This year, the funding pool will help pay for five alternative spring break trips: a trip to Nicaragua with Global Medical Outreach through the College’s pre-med advising office and coordinated by Heather Burrell ’11; a trip to the Dominican Republic sponsored by Gusto! and coordinated by Prim Songkaeo ’11, which aims to do solidarity work among laborers in the coffee production industry; a trip to the Navajo Nation in the Southwest to do educational work in a reservation school; a trip to Spartanburg, S.C., to work with Habitat for Humanity, coordinated by Jess Harris ’11 and Madeline King ’11; and a trip to Springfield, Mass., sponsored by the Williams Christian Fellowship and First-Year Bible Study to do inner-city relief work, coordinated by Alex DiAddezio ’11, Chris Sheahan ’13 and Shirley Li ’13. The trip to Navajo Nation is in its third year, while this year’s Habitat for Humanity trip will mark its second occurrence.
In total, around 60 to 70 students will be involved in alternative spring break trips this year.
Additionally, there are two more possible trips that are currently working toward gathering more funding: one sponsored by Thursday Night Grassroots to West Virginia to join the movement against mountaintop removal mining and one sponsored by Williams Catholic Student Association to do inner-city relief work. “These trips are still in the early stages of organizing, so it’s too late for funding from the CCE pool, but I’m trying to help the organizers in every way that I can to find funds from other sources,” Spalding said.
As a condition for its funding, the Lehman Council has asked all trip organizers to take part in a presentation showcasing what they did on their spring break trips. The presentation will be scheduled for sometime in April.
“I hope students who might be interested in organizing an [alternative spring break trip] for next year will come and get started now in thinking about what they want to do and how most creatively and effectively to raise the funds necessary to do it,” Spalding said.

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