by INDIRA MOOSAI
The PEACE Volunteer Center held the Alternative Breaks Reveal to announce and promote their volunteer trips that take place throughout UT’s 2017-18 school year, on Sept. 28. Included in these trips were spring and fall weekend breaks, week-long spring breaks, a domestic break and an international break.
Jillian Gomez, co-director of PEACE alternative breaks and sophomore marine science biology major, said coming up with these trip locations is based off social issues students care about on campus through use of polls on OrgSync, as well as trip reflections of previous volunteers.
Jenna Del Vescio, co-director of alternative breaks and junior allied health major, said that PEACE will be repeating one trip that they had last year, the Jacksonville weekend alternative break. Gomez said, “It’s a really reliable site, and we’ve had a lot of turnout.”
On this trip, volunteers will work with Presbyterian Ministries to combat homelessness. Previously in Jacksonville, volunteers did rehabilitation activities such as house painting and gardening.
“We’re trying to build a relationship with [Presbyterian Ministries] and their community, so hopefully, we can bring volunteers there every year,” Del Vescio said.
Emily Sanner, a junior biology major, is a PEACE co-director of alternative breaks, and specifically plans the weekend alternative breaks.
Sanner said that weekend alternative breaks are captivating because of the short amount of time one has to get completely immersed in the social issue, the community and the volunteer group; one learns about the culture at a fast-pace alongside UT volunteers.
“It’s like you come out of the experience with a new family,” said Sanner.
To apply to one of these trips, students can visit PEACE’s portal on OrgSync, and select the form that reads “2017-18 Alternative Break Application (Weekend, Spring Break, May International, and May Domestic).”
The application consists of a series of open ended questions about how aware the applicant is about the social issue, how involved he or she is in the community, and what previous volunteer experience the applicant has, according to Sanner.
“If you have never been on an alternative break, or never done community service, don’t let that deter you from applying,” said Sanner. “If you take the time to research the social issue, and fill out the application with heart and genuine passion, it’s going to get a better score than someone that’s done 100 hours of community service.”
Sanner said that for weekend alternative trips, 10 volunteers will be selected. According to Del Vescio, the other trips will be limited to 12-15 volunteers.
Applications are open now, and will close on Oct. 16 at 11:59 p.m.
Indira Moosai can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org