Raiders Helping Others coordinated alternative, volunteer-oriented spring break trips for students.
Raiders Helping Others (RHO) had a record-breaking number of student residents on alternative spring break trips to participate in service opportunities.
RHO is an organization of student residents committed to bettering the community through volunteer efforts. To be a member, students must live on campus or have been a member during their previous residency on campus.
A total of 39 students traveled to Florida, Kentucky, Utah and Louisiana. Each trip was sponsored by Texas Tech advisers and lasted the duration of spring break (March 13-20).
Craig Kuehnert, assistant director for student leadership development at University Student Housing, said RHO began offering alternative spring break trips to on-campus residents in the spring of 2011.
“Alternative spring break trips allow students to participate in an experience that challenges their perceptions about various areas of social justice through community service work,” Kuehnert.
Kuehnert hopes the students will use the experiences from their trips to better their future.
“Our students are exposed to real life experiences that may help them think differently, or more deeply, about their course work and future careers,” Kuehnert said.
RHO student members traveled to David, Kentucky to volunteer at the David School, which provides educational programs for children from low income households. Texas Tech students were able to assist with maintenance of the facility, aid with landscaping a trail from the school up to the mountain and tutor students in the classrooms.
Whitney Shaffer, RHO committee chair for youth and education, said she went to the David School last year for spring break with RHO and was thrilled to get the opportunity to go back and see some of the same students she had worked with previously.
“This trip is a great experience and it helps open your eyes to the major issues that some of the students face,” Shaffer said, “I recommend this trip to anyone who is passionate about the students in the education system.”
Eight Texas Tech students traveled to New Orleans, Louisiana, to perform various re-building activities throughout the city. During the week students assisted in helping with gardening, painting and trash cleanup in the community.
This trip was targeted toward students at Texas Tech who are interested in social justice and diversity topics.
Students volunteered alongside staff members at the Rocky Mountain Field Institute in Indian Creek, Utah. The Institute works to conserve public lands in the Southern Rocky Mountain region with the help of volunteers through various restoration projects. By the end of the week, students had built 76 rock steps, improved 101 linear feet of trail, hauled 133 cubic feet of crush fill and built 458 square feet of retaining wall.
Alison Menefee, RHO committee chair for animals and the environment, led seven other students through the Utah trip. She said it was a great experience that allowed all of the students to get to know one another better and bond through various projects.
“I would have to say my favorite part about the trip was seeing how everyone came together to accomplish a goal, even when we were tired and cold,” Menefee said. “One of the greatest things that came out of this trip was knowing that all these people chose to spend their spring break doing something meaningful.”
Eight students volunteered at the Give Kids the World resort in Kissimmee, Florida. The resort provides week-long, cost-free vacations to children with life-threatening and terminal illnesses.
While at the resort, students prepared and served meals to residents, aided with maintenance work on the property and worked closely with the children and their families during planned events and activities. This trip was targeted at students that live in the Health Sciences Learning Community or are interested in the healthcare profession.