Tech Takes a Break
This week, you’ll find Yellow Jackets all over the world, but fewer on campus.
Julia Faherty | March 20, 2017
• Atlanta, GA
From March 20 – 24, classes will recess for Georgia Tech students to enjoy Spring Break. Tech students plan to enjoy their time off in a variety of ways, many of which are not your typical college Spring Break experience.
Read on to find out a few places you’ll find Yellow Jackets this week besides campus.
This semester, OIE and Serve-Learn-Sustain partnered to host an Alternative Service Break trip to DeFuniak Springs, Florida. The trip will provide an opportunity for participants from the Tech community to take part in an environmental service project near the Gulf Coast. More than 40 students, both international and U.S. students, are participating.
Second-year civil engineering graduate student Saubhagya Rathore participated in last year’s Spring Break service trip to Columbia, South Carolina, and looks forward to taking the trip to Florida. As an international student from India, Rathore found that the service trip allowed him to explore different areas of the U.S. while interacting with other Tech students.
“When I signed up for the trip last year, I didn’t know any other students attending,” he said. “It was a great way to get out of my comfort zone, meet new people, and learn about different cultures.”
Alternative Service Breaks (ASB), in partnership with Student Engagement, is hosting five Spring Break trips this semester. These are group-oriented, community service trips that promote student leadership development, personal reflection, and education around service issues. Destinations include Biloxi, Mississippi; Jacksonville, Florida; Nashville, Tennessee; Costa Rica; and the Dominican Republic.
The ASB trip to the Dominican Republic will work with Outreach360 to prepare English lessons for children in the community of Monte Cristi.
Third-year biomedical engineering major Thanh Nguyen is a co-leader of this trip. He became involved with ASB during the fall semester of his second year and has attended an ASB trip each year since.
“I first attended the 2016 Spring Break trip to Biloxi, Mississippi, to work with the Boys and Girls Clubs,” he said. “I applied without thinking too much about it and when I was invited to attend in January, I didn’t have other Spring Break plans lined up and decided to go.”
Second-year business major Kate Vacko is the other co-leader of the trip. She got involved with ASB through her older sister and also participated in the Biloxi trip last year. Vacko and Nguyen are excited for this semester’s international trip.
“I am looking forward to getting to know all of the participants in the trip,” Vacko said. “We have a total of 14 people attending including 10 students, two faculty members, and two leaders.”
Nguyen is excited to work with the children at the school.
“I hope to have an impact on the kids while I’m there,” he said. “I’ve also never been to the Dominican Republic, so I’m looking forward to experiencing the culture.”
Third-year chemical engineering major Allison Sellers is leading the ASB trip to Costa Rica. A team of 14 will travel to Central America to work on a sea turtle rescue project with Community Collaborations. In their free time, group members will participate in canopy tours and rainforest hikes.
“I am excited about leading the trip to Costa Rica this semester because I’m passionate about the environment and traveling abroad,” Sellers said. “I went to Biloxi with ASB in the past, but this trip is unique because of its purpose and international destination.”
Sellers has attended ASB trips since her first year at Tech. She was involved with service work throughout high school and found the organization to satisfy her love of community service. This year, she’s is looking forward to interacting with her peers in a foreign country.
“This trip and its attendees are completely new to me, but service brings people together, and I’m looking forward to getting to know the participants,” she said.
The Campus Recreation SCUBA program, in partnership with Professional Education and the Division of Student Life, is hosting a trip to Cozumel to educate and inspire environmental and multicultural awareness through a training and certification program.
During the trip, participants will complete dives, become Scuba 1 or Scuba 2/Advanced Open Water certified, and enjoy the sights and sounds of Cozumel. All students are invited to participate in future trips.
Joe Brown, assistant professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, is traveling with students from his CEE 4350 course, Environmental Technology in the Developing World, to Cochambamba, Bolivia. The water quality-focused research trip includes a group of 10 students and two teaching assistants.
Over 10 days, the group will work with local partners in Bolivia to conduct water quality surveys. The Catholic University of Bolivia will join with Tech students for a cultural and scientific exchange.
This class runs in parallel with similar courses at Duke University and Yale University. At the end of the semester, the three classes will meet at a research conference in New York and present their findings. Students interested in taking the course in the future can contact Brown for information.
The Trailblazers organization coordinates trips combining environmental service projects with outdoor recreation to allow participants to build new friendships while serving and learning about the environment. This semester, the group is hosting trips to Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky and Manatee Springs in Florida.
Trailblazers’ trips combine recreation with service. In Florida, the group will participate in service work, camp, hike, snorkel, and canoe. In Kentucky, the group will complete service work, camp, canoe, hike, and take a cave tour.
For more information on the Trailblazers organization and upcoming trips, visit their website.