FGCU students ditch Fort Myers for break
Having finished your last assignment before spring break, you may have the urge to run, scream or shout at the top of your lungs. While most students are used to relaxation and parties during their spring break, many FGCU students will go those extra miles to give back.
Alternative break is a program for FGCU students offering two trips per year: Winter and spring break. Emily Catizone, a freshman majoring in biomedical engineering, has given time to student government. For spring break, student government is hosting alternative spring break in the nation’s capital. Catizone enjoys the secrecy of alternative spring break.
“The thing about alternative spring break trips is you go through the application process not knowing where you will be going to be serving or where you will be staying. You have to have faith in the program. And you got to make sure you get people who want to do service and want to help out,” said Catizone.
As we chat, she hasn’t received word whether she will be offered a spot for the trip or not. She claims to have options since she is a first-year student. Yet Catizone comes across as nervous of her place, despite the low turnout for the trip.
If Catizone earns a spot on the free trip to Washington, D.C., her day will consist of morning service projects, followed by complimentary lunch, then four more hours towards the service project. During the last full day, six hours will be given for exploration.
“It’s one of those things: You’re in college. I think people take their breaks as vacation, and I get to be whoever I want to. I know when I was on alternative winter break, at night, you could go on Facebook and connect back to home and see what people from FGCU are doing,” Catizone said.
“Because I didn’t really have enough time to call them. I was so engaged in the program. And people were like ‘slept all day,’ ‘watching TV,’ so I’m like ‘wow, how can you do this when there is this great opportunity that’s just sitting there,’” she said.
Out of 13,000 students, FGCU had 64 applications from students enrolled for alternative spring break. Many students do not know about the trip. Alternative spring break is allocated by tuition.
The senate each year passes bills to decide how your money will be used.
Catizone commenting on the small turnout said, “That just astounds me. You learn a lot about yourself. You learn a lot about an area that you maybe have never been to. And you learn a lot about service and what it means to help people on a more intimate level. I’ve done service before. I’ve helped human society; I’ve helped paint walls. And that is completely different.”
Along with Catizone, FGCU student Jason Domin, a sophomore majoring in management, has productive plans for his spring break. As a member of Gay-Straight Alliance, Domin has participated in a recent trip to Michigan to learn more about issues facing his organization.
During the trip, Domin bonded with other members of his organization during leisure time.
“Every time we went out to dinner it was like: Who’s gluten free, first of all? Who’s vegan? So we couldn’t go to just a Moe’s or Taco Bell,” Domin said.
“That’s the part where you become closer with your friends because everyone in our organization – we get to know about each other. And things like that. Like why did you go gluten free? Or why did you go vegan?” Domin said.
Having established good relationships during organization activities, Domin plans to help organize and attend a GSA beach day.
For the GSA beach day, members of the organization can speak about issues they cannot share with other members of the community. Having friends he can trust is important to Domin. His participation during the event builds trust among members and allows Domin to get a tan, too.
Leslie Dorne, a sophomore majoring in communication, plans to drive to the east coast and spend time with close friends and family.
She plans to have an uneventful spring break full of relaxation. Dorne plans to fill her days with “Black Ops 2, zombies, clubs, sugar disco and parties.” In addition, Dorne plans to catch-up with a few friends.
Miami during spring break is hectic. Traffic and the climate readjusting several degrees farenheit are the least of Dorne’s worries. She plans to drive, with company, to the beach often and work on her tan.
As of yet, there isn’t an exact formula to determine the most productive way to spend your time during spring break. Offering your time to people who weren’t given proper educational opportunities and are down on their luck provides hope to those people.
With the turbulent state of the economy in America these days, what better investment of your time than giving to others and devolving important life skills? According to Psychologist James H. Fowler, who over a 20-year span studied 5,000 people, found the effects of happiness can last for up to a year. Fowler views the theory as a collective phenomenon and has said, “We found a statistical relationship not just between your happiness and your friends’ happiness, but between your happiness and your friends’ friends’ friends’ happiness.”
These chains of events influence the entire community like a beautiful morning sunrise. Our goal as spring break nears should be to resemble England and not allow the sun to set on our University.
Whatever your intended plans, there are plenty of opportunities where you can relax and also make an impact on the community. Breaks have a way of ending too fast—make the most of yours.