Staff Editorial: Assist spring break’s alternative

As some students drink and party on beaches in tropical locations this spring break, others will build up a sweat while building houses in New Orleans or caring for the poor in Central America.

Over the past few years, GW has seen the rise of so-called alternative spring breaks, in which would-be vacationers volunteer their time in service projects. While these groups receive some of their financial support from GW, the University should consider strongly funding and supporting these programs that can help GW reach out to needy areas in the country and the world.

Over the past several weeks and months, students from various alternative spring break groups have been engaging in substantial fundraising to make their trips possible. A trip organized through GW’s Office of Community Service was able to convince the University to provide ample funding to help the organization meet its goals, according to one member. Other groups, however, are mostly reliant on their own fundraising efforts. This comes at a time when many student organizations are almost entirely dependent on Student Association-allocated funding to carry on their normal operations.

Administrators should consider taking the multitude of alternative spring break groups under GW’s wing and pledging increased support to send students to needy parts of the globe. By organizing and funding these groups, GW could capitalize on the positive name recognition that comes from sending those who represent the University as they engage in various community service projects.

Most importantly, these organizations are performing an essential service function, and students would be able to do more good with increased support from GW. As GW is increasingly perceived as a school filled with privileged kids who may not be conscious about global need issues, full-fledged support for alternative spring break programs could help change that image.

Spring break has largely become a time for students to let loose on vacations for personal enjoyment, but others have taken the week off as an opportunity to engage in meaningful service projects. GW should strongly consider associating itself with these individuals, whose work speaks to the true character of a sizable part of our student body.

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