Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Students break to help issues


Six separate Alternative Spring Break (ASB) trips were offered by Suffolk University and the S.O.U.L.S. office this past month for students willing to dedicate their time to focusing on issues like poverty relief, environmental justice and equal rights.

Four of the trips worked with Habitat for Humanity to help those living in under-resourced communities improve their housing situations. Another trip focused on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transsexual (LGBT) issues, working with the Triangle Foundation to eliminate discrimination and promote equality. There was also one trip with an environmental focus, allowing students to help protect ecologically important features of nature.

For those who went on the trips, however, it was not only about the work they set out to complete. Many of them learned invaluable lessons that caused them to reflect on their own lives.

“There’s more to learn than how to nail something down,” said Roxette Caba, a Suffolk senior who attended the Wichita Falls, Texas trip. “It gives you an important outlook like ‘wow, there are more important things than what you wear, or where you come from.’”

Students were also able to achieve personal goals. Caba described her previous uncertainties about using a saw and climbing a ladder, two fears that she overcame during various ASB trips. She said the people she traveled with were also very supportive. Alison Surozenski, a sophomore who also traveled to Wichita Falls, had a different kind of goal.

“I wanted to improve on patience and communication skills, which are definitely needed for trips like these,” said Surozenski. “When traveling anywhere, you face different ideologies and different perspectives, so once your views are challenged, you need to communicate.”

Apart from personal goals, others were most proud of the work they had accomplished for the community they had helped.

“One of the most valuable things was seeing the faces of the people of Wichita Falls,” said sophomore Kevin Giannattasio. “Just how happy they were for us to be there, to see their reactions for what we were able to get done.”

However, it wasn’t only the students who appreciated the many values of the trips. Kathleen Peets, a facilitator at Wichita Falls, enjoyed getting to interact with students she doesn’t normally have the chance to work with. She also saw important qualities in the students she worked beside.

“It’s a leadership opportunity,” she said. “Not only for the leaders, but people who participate can also develop and show leadership skills.”

Participants described the lasting friendships they made while on these trips and the valuable lessons they learned as two of the most important parts of their ASB experience.

Surozenski described the trip as a great way to find your place at Suffolk if you hadn’t already, while Peets noted it as a fun way to make friends and build a sense of community at Suffolk that cannot be done in another way.

“You meet more people at Suffolk University, you get more involved,” said Giannattasio. “You’re going down there for a really great reason. You’re going down there and you’re giving a lot, but you’re gaining back so much more than you ever thought you would.”

All things considered, an ASB experience is not only about the work that gets done for each community. It is about giving back, but also about realizing your strengths, making lasting friendships, and proving you can be a leader as you stand up to focus on national issues.


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    NancMar 30, 2011 at 9:18 am

    Great story on a great program, and there were EIGHT trips this year, double last year’s number.

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Students break to help issues