MC group spends Spring Break volunteering in Charlotte

March 1, 2011
Contact: Chloe Kennedy, News and New Media Writer

It’s not your typical idea of Spring Break.

There’s no sandy beach, tanning oil or beach volleyball. Instead, there are hammers, nails, paintbrushes and power tools – and lots of work.

And that’s exactly how 15 Maryville College students and staff members want to spend their Spring Break.

Through the College’s Alternative Spring Break (ASB) program, the group will spend March 13-18 volunteering with Habitat for Humanity in Charlotte, N.C.

The College is working through Myers Park Presbyterian Church’s Cross Ministries in Charlotte to organize the activities, which include working with Habitat for Humanity. The students will participate in an “urban rebuild” project – instead of building new houses, students will work on existing homes that are in need of repairs.

“Our students are really tuned in to hunger and homelessness issues – it’s something they’re really passionate about,” said Diana Lovelace, coordinator for service, mission and vocation at Maryville College. “Plus, it’s fun to have the opportunity to do hands-on building.”

Students are responsible for doing all of the fundraising for the trip. Myers Park will provide lodging for the student volunteers during their stay.

Begun in 1996, Alternative Spring Break, or “ASB” as students refer to it, has become a tradition among Maryville College students. ASB and Alternative Fall Break are unique service opportunities for students, faculty and staff and are intended to provide learning experiences for students while strengthening the communities in which they volunteer.

Jordan Sherrod, a Maryville College senior, said she chooses to spend her Spring Breaks volunteering because she thinks that engaging with others is an important tenet in Maryville College’s mission.

“I believe that volunteering during this week is a great way to ‘re-charge’ for the remainder of the semester,” Sherrod said. “We work hard, but we also play hard. Having a great group to experience this service with makes all the difference!”

Sherrod decided to go on this year’s trip because her past experiences on Alternative Spring Break trips have been “very fulfilling.”

“We met some of the most amazing and interesting people, and, although we certainly worked very hard, we also enjoyed that signature ‘MC community’ as we hung out as a group,” she said. “We always have a great, fun group of students and staff on these trips.”

For MC senior Kyle Finnell, whose hectic class schedule often makes it difficult to volunteer regularly, Alternative Spring Break gives him the opportunity to spend his spring break helping communities.

“I participate in Alternative Spring Break so I can give back to communities and help serve others,” Finnell said. “The trips also provide great opportunities to meet other students and form lasting friendships while volunteering. The advisors and students involved are there for the right reasons, and that makes it fun and meaningful.”

Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the fall 2016 semester is 1,198.