Breaking Tradition

Spring breakers from last year's New Orleans trip, with house captains Carey and Tony of the "Rebuilding Together New Orleans" organization and Brad Gilbert, a WilmU student life associate.
Spring breakers from last year’s New Orleans trip, with house captains Carey and Tony of the “Rebuilding Together New Orleans” organization and Brad Gilbert, a WilmU student life associate.

A spring break typically involves lazing on warm tropical beaches. But for one group of 10 Wilmington University students, the week of March 27- April 2 will see them breaking a sweat in a different way, as they clean up overgrown walking trails and break new ones through James River State Park in Virginia.

Each year’s student spring break trip is devoted to a community project, says trip leader Brad Gilbert of the WilmU Student Success office. Last year, the group assisted in rebuilding Hurricane Katrina-ruined homes in New Orleans. This year, their efforts will help the regional community with keeping recreational park space open to all.

Participants in the group change each year but are limited to 10. Students are chosen through a competitive application process, including academic performance as well as an interview. Applications are accepted by the Student Success office starting in mid-December of the preceding year and are due by February. Decisions are made by early March.

While not required, students can receive academic credit for the trip, usually by completing a short project
like a photo blog or a research paper, says Gilbert.

The students also benefit in intangible ways, as they must quickly learn to work together, says Gilbert. “This is one of the biggest challenges, but definitely the most rewarding.” WU

—Janice Colvin