Bellarmine University's Alternative Spring Break program was back last week, after a year off due to COVID-19.
More than 30 Bellarmine students and eight faculty and staff members dedicated their spring breaks to volunteering and engaging with four communities across the region, including Louisville. Each trip was designed to encourage students to develop a deeper understanding of social issues and a personal sense of social responsibility.
“Bellarmine is committed to engaging in mutually beneficial partnerships in Louisville and the region in order to build authentic relationships, meet critical community needs and offer a transformative learning experience,” said Dr. Liz Todd Byron, Associate Director of Bellarmine's Center for Community Engagement.
Bellarmine announced the creation of its Center for Community Engagement in 2021. The center now facilitates the Alternative Spring Break program.
Students spent their spring breaks focusing on specific issues in the following locations:
- Huntington, West Virginia - Food Access: students, faculty (Dr. Amy Fairfield, School of Business), and staff (Colleen Arnett, Residence Life) worked with Huntington City Mission and Facing Hunger to support a food warehouse and mobile food distribution service in the area.
- David, Kentucky - Education Access: students and faculty (Dr. Amy Lein, School of Education) visited the David School to help students in their daily studies and support a renovation project on the main campus.
- Indianapolis, Indiana - Healthcare Access: students and staff (Shelby Bosi-Linton and Alexa Walczak, Student Success Center) supported the Center of Wellness for Urban Women and the Diabetes Impact Project.
The program in Louisville focused on Social Justice and Race Relations. The group spent the week working with community partners such as AMPED, Louisville Urban League, Russell: A Place of Promise and St. George’s Scholar Institute.
Prince Mugabo, a philosophy major in Bellarmine's pre-med program, was busy Thursday afternoon filling bags of rice for families who use services provided by La Casita Center, a Louisville nonprofit that enhances the wellbeing of the local Latinx community.
“I want to be a helping hand, part of the solution, not just sitting on the sidelines,” he said.
Breanna Dukes, a freshman nursing major agreed, saying she enjoyed learning about the community partners and the projects they were working on.
“I thought this was a good opportunity to feel more connected to my city,” she said.