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Students take a break to travel, help underprivileged communities in need

Most people think students party, hit the slopes, escape to the beach or simply relax during spring break.

But at DU, several campus departments and organizations — including the Sturm College of Law, the Orthodox Christian Fellowship and Young Life — will host “alternative” spring break programs where students can travel, learn and provide service to communities in need.

The Sturm College of Law will host its second-annual Alternative Spring Break program. Thirty-three DU law students will travel and provide legal services to underprivileged communities in three locations — Window Rock, Ariz.; Farmington, N.M.; and El Paso, Texas.

Students will participate in legal service work in the areas of poverty law, American Indian law, criminal law and immigration law. Participants will provide service in areas of law that usually are not practiced in Denver. Students can receive credit for the law school’s public service requirement or gain one academic credit hour for participating in this service trip.

“This program is a great opportunity for law students to spend a week doing public interest legal work for needy communities,” says Kelson Bohnet, one of the four DU law students who organized the program. “Students are both able to offer legal help for the underprivileged and gain substantive career experience by working in various legal offices. Furthermore, students have the opportunity to interact with unique cultures, such as the Navajo and Hispanic communities.”

The trip is March 13–19. Grants from the Sturm College Chancellor’s Scholar Program and law dean’s office will cover half the costs. Each participant pays $125 to cover the remaining costs.

Two faith-based student organizations on campus will host alternative spring break programs this year, as well.

Young Life — a non-denominational Christian outreach organization — will host two alternative spring break trips this year. The first option is an adventure sea-kayaking trip. Students and staff members will spend a week kayaking, getting to know one another and hanging out on the beach in Lake Powell, Utah.

“[The] benefit is getting to know other students, shared experience, adventure activity, and a chance to grow in your self-understanding,” says Young Life volunteer Katie Sewell (MSW ’09).

The trip is March 12–19 and costs $600.

Young Life’s second program is a road trip to Buena Vista, Colo. A small group of DU students and staff will serve meals and clean a Young Life camp for high school students March 12–19. Participants on this trip only pay for the cost of gas.

DU’s Orthodox Christian Fellowship student organization is partnering with the national collegiate ministry of the Orthodox Church to offer the “Real Break” program March 11–19.

More than 100 students from around the country will participate in the program, which involves a service project in domestic and international locations. Students will travel to Guatemala, Romania, Istanbul, Greece, Mexico or Canada and will work on construction projects or with orphan children.

Arianna Ranahosseini, a DU senior, will travel to Istanbul to work on a construction project with the Ecumenical Patriarch of the Orthodox Church. Students in this location have previously refurbished churches and cemeteries destroyed in Turkish riots, she says.

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