While some students spent their spring break tanning at the beach or relaxing at home, seven University of Arkansas – Fort Smith students opted to spend their time off from school conducting community service projects in New Orleans as part of an “Alternative Spring Break” program at the university.
Accompanied by two UAFS employees – Jasmine Smith, student activities coordinator, and Shannon Garcia, Greek life and leadership coordinator – students traveled to the Big Easy and completed nearly 100 hours of service during their three-day stay.
Projects included building a backyard garden for a family, mulching, and realigning headstones at Chalmette National Cemetery. Students also experienced the culture of New Orleans through a tour of the French Quarter, a visit to St. Louis Cathedral, a swamp tour, a guided ghost and history tour, and a visit to the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas.
The trip marks a new effort by the university to offer safe, fun and meaningful spring break experiences for students, according to Smith.
“It was our goal to give students a chance to experience a different city, with a different culture than Fort Smith and to learn how to become active citizens,” she said.
Kaley Underwood, one of the students who went on the trip, said it was a valuable experience.
“The Alternative Spring Break trip to New Orleans was a great opportunity to experience a new city while also performing meaningful service projects in the area,” Underwood said. “New Orleans has such an exciting atmosphere and culture, and I’m was so excited to get to help them maintain their city and culture.”
Booneville: Holley Maness.
Fort Smith: Lane Dickinson and Asher Parvu.
Harrison: Mallorie Scroggie.
Oden: Kaley Underwood.
Sallisaw, Okla.: Joshua Simonds.
Summit, N.J.: Qasim Mian.