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Wednesday, Oct 01, 2014

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Students to learn about region during alternative spring break


While most college students may choose to flee to the nearest beach this spring break, the Ohio University Campus Involvement Center will be providing a unique alternative that offers students the opportunity to gain a richer perspective about their community.

The Ohio University Campus Involvement Center, in conjunction with Rural Action and the United Campus Ministries, is proud to offer its second annual "Go Beyond Athens: Spring Break Service Trip," a trip that focuses on the environmental and social issues affecting Southeast Ohio.

Barbara Harrison, assistant director of Off Campus Living and Community Service, has coordinated this project to encourage students to develop an understanding of why Southeast Ohio has experienced and continues to experience economic and environmental challenges by engaging students in service-learning projects.

Harrison reported that, "this year, because our project is funded by The Student Senate 'U-Fund', the only cost students had to pay was $25 to hold their spot. It gives students who otherwise could not get out of Athens and opportunity to see our community and learn more about our area."

From March 6 to March 9, 10 students will be staying in cabins in Burr Oak State Park near Glouster, Ohio.

During this time, one of the first challenges they will complete is a 'zero waste challenge' to encourage using less material to leave less of an environmental impact. One of their first activities will be to plan a weekly menu of meals that they can cook together on a budget.

Their weekly itinerary will include activities such as a dumpsite clean up in a location where residents do not have access to waste disposal and removal. The students will also assist in painting the Shawnee Opera House in Shawnee, Ohio. Students will return to Athens on Thursday night to help with the United Campus Ministries weekly supper.

Their trip will conclude with a trip to West Virginia, where students will have the opportunity to discuss the impending dangers presented by the mountaintop removal initiatives with an organization called Keepers of the Mountain.  

According to Harrison, "this project is important because it exposes students to the beautiful resources we already have, like at our state parks, and work some service into it."

For more information, please contact Barbara Harrison at 740-593-4098 or harrisob@ohio.edu.