What are you doing for your Spring Break?

By: Rachel Palfini, Community Service Intern for Spring Break Service Trips

The Student Engagement Center is excited to announce we will be offering four weeklong Spring Break Service Trips (SBSTs). SBSTs are weeklong volunteer trips that allow you (Whitman students!) to focus on a particular social issue outside of the Walla Walla community. It is a great way to have a fun and meaningful spring break, living and learning beyond the Whitman bubble. This year three of the trips will be in-region (Pacific NorthweDSC_0730st) and one will be out-of-region (Detroit).

March 14-21: Portland, OR: Urban Education
March 14-21: Detroit, MI: Urban Renewal
March 21-29: Eugene, OR: Environmental Conservation and Restoration
March 21-29: Pendleton, OR: Youth Initiative with the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR)

During an SBST, you will have the opportunity to do direct service related to your social issue as well as attend educational information sessions to increase your awareness. In the evening, trip leaders will facilitate group reflection in order for everyone to gain a better understanding of how your social issue affects the community you’re serving, Whitman, Walla Walla, and your life!

Participant applications are now open and can be found at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/SBST-Participant-Application-2015. They are due on November 12 at 5 pm.

What might your week look like?  See the descriptions of each trip below!


Portland: During the day you’ll be assisting teachers and interacting with students at Arthur Academy (Charter School), Lincoln Park Elementary (Portland Public School), and West Sylvan Middle School (Portland Public Spanish Immersion School).  You’ll also volunteer at Neighborhood House sorting food in their pantry and learning how food insecurity relates to children’s education. Meetings will also be scheduled with Whitman alum and graduate school professors for those interested in pursing a career in education.

Detroit: You’ll be doing service with a wide variety of organizations including The Michigan Urban Farming Initiative, Green Living Science, Nortown CDC and The Heidelberg Project. Each site will help you get a better understanding of what community means and how Detroit is rebuilding itself after the 2008 financial crisis.

Eugene: Friends of Buford Park and Friends of Trees are two amazing organizations that are so excited to mulch, prune, weed, plant trees and work on habitat restoration with you! You’ll also spend an entire day with GOATS (not the animal!) clearing mountain bike paths and learning about how that relates to environmental conservation. Tours of EugenDSCF1339e’s  transfer station, landfill as well as BRING’s  recycling site are also in the works! At BRING you’ll not only have a tour but also do some hands on service, perhaps constructing grocery cars our of leftover building materials and industrial machinery.

Pendleton: This trip is brand new this year and the SEC is so excited for a new partnership with the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR). We are still in the planning stages but will have lots more info soon!



Still not convinced you should participate in an SBST? Then check out what past participants have said…

photo 2“My SBST to Eugene, OR was a blast! I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know a diverse group of students in a new capacity – you really bond over hard physical labor and not-so-stellar weather! Trail restoration and invasive species pulling was also incredibly enjoyable and rewarding because, at the end of the day, I could physically look back at all the work we had accomplished. Overall, I learned some things about myself and environmental conservation, while having a lot of fun along the way.” –Paige Organick ’17, Eugene Participant 2014

“I loved my Portland trip because we got such a good scope of the urban education issues they face. We got to see all aspects, from working behind the scenes with nonprofits to working  directly in the schools with students.” –Deborah DeHovitz ’16, Portland Leader 2014

“I wouldn’t trade my experience on a service trip for anything. My time in Eugene gave me perspective on my life and also many more friendships that last to this day.” –Forrest Arnold ’17, Eugene Participant 2014

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email servicetrips@whitman.edu or stop by the SEC.

*This is intended to only provide a brief snapshot of some of the activities you’ll be doing. Much, much more is in the works! In addition, everything listed above is subject to change.




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