A group of 15 Upper Iowa University students and staff headed south for this year’s annual Alternative Spring Break trip, March 6-13. They travelled to the small country of Belize in Central America to combine community service with fun in the sun. Front row (l-r): Jackie Greco, Cara Mauldin, Paige DeVine, and Allison Franck. Back row (l-r): Nicole Lenius, Steve Kluck, Daryl Grove, Justin Marchant, Melissa Kipp, Jason Olsgard, Tiffany Whitcher, Kristen Jorgenson, Kristine Whitesell, Kit Klepinger, and Allison Rodenburg.
FAYETTE, Iowa (March 19, 2010) — A group of 15 Upper Iowa University students and staff headed south for this year’s annual Alternative Spring Break trip, March 6-13. They travelled to the small country of Belize in Central America to combine community service with fun in the sun.
The group spent the majority of their time in the Rancho Dolores village helping do repairs to a local school. They met up with representatives of St. John’s College in Belize City, a partner college of Upper Iowa University, to paint, install room partitions, repair plumbing, and build outside volleyball and basketball courts at the school. The students did, however, take time off to enjoy their Caribbean surroundings and went snorkeling, cave tubing, and visited the local Mayan ruins.
“Being back in Fayette, it’s great to hear students say that they miss Rancho,” said Kit Klepinger, coordinator for international education and chaperone. “From looking at pictures and reminiscing, it’s evident that all participants gained something from this trip: an appreciation for home and all that we have in the U.S., an appetite for more travel, the understanding that any situation can be interpreted differently, or the simple fact that no matter where you go, don’t forget to pack your patience and flexibility.” She added, “Some have even made rice and beans; others are craving fresh tortillas.”
Upper Iowa University’s Alternative Spring Break is a student organization committed to encouraging volunteerism by students. The program places teams of college students in communities to engage in positive social action and education. The goals can range from increasing cultural awareness, to bringing academic learning to life, or to creating a life-long service ethic.
Daryl Grove, executive director of student leadership and adventure and chaperone, implemented the program five years ago at Upper Iowa. With the help of Grove, the students held numerous fundraisers throughout the year to underwrite their expenses. “I wouldn’t have been able to go if it weren’t for the fact we were able to fundraise,” said senior Melissa Kipp.
Upper Iowa University students who went on the Belize ASB trip included: Paige DeVine, St. Charles, MN; Allison Franck, Cedar Rapids; Jacqueline Greco, St. Louis, MO; Melissa Kipp, Ossian; Stephen Kluck, Cedar Falls; Nicole Lenius, Tripoli; Justin Marchant, Oregon, WI; Cara Mauldin, Belleville, IL; Jason Olsgard, Decorah; Allison Rodenberg, McGregor; Tiffany Whitcher, Waterloo, IL; Kristine Whitsell, Grundy Center. Kristen Jorgenson, administrative assistant in international programs, was the third staff chaperone.
Monica Bayer Heaton
Executive Director of Communications and Marketing
About Upper Iowa University
Founded in 1857, Upper Iowa University is a private, not-for-profit university providing undergraduate and graduate degree programs and leadership development opportunities to over 6,600 students—nationally and internationally—at its Fayette campus and learning centers worldwide. Upper Iowa University is a recognized innovator in offering accredited, quality programs through flexible, multiple delivery systems, including online and independent study. For more information, visit www.uiu.edu.