For the past few years, the Center for Service and Leadership has hosted a trip over spring break to get students engaged in environmentalism. This year’s Spring BreakAway continues previous years’ tradition of taking students to Buford Park, near Eugene, Oregon. Students will team up with the CSL’s partner organization Friends of Buford Park and work with local community partners. The trip will take place between March 21–26.
Jessy Wolff, this year’s BreakAway coordinator, explained that coordinators choose the primary focus for the trip, and this year student volunteers will be focusing on environmental justice.
“Environmental justice is a pretty wide ranging topic, so the conversations we have will touch on a lot of subtopics that sort of sit underneath that umbrella term,” Wolff said. “Some of the bigger issues I know I want to talk about are climate change, individual, government and corporate responsibility — to the environment — environmental racism, global impact and the future of state and national parks. With several days to talk about these things, I hope we can also begin to understand the interconnection between these issues.”
Students who are interested in going still have time to sign-up. There is a $50 fee, and space is limited to fifteen students. So far, eight have signed up. There will be two mandatory meetings before the trip on Feb. 22 and March 7 where students will go in-depth about this year’s plans.
The BreakAway trip represents one way in which the CSL gets students involved with community outreach and work. The CSL also organizes the Husky Volunteers, where students can get involved with volunteer work, or if they are already volunteering, they can reflect upon their service and time.
Students who go through the Husky Volunteer process and complete at least 100 hours of volunteer work will be eligible to receive a Silver Husky Medallion. Students who do 200 hours of work are eligible for a Purple Husky Medallion, and for those who complete 300 or more hours of volunteer work or service can receive the Gold Husky Medallion. Students participating in the trip will earn around 80 hours of community service which can count toward the medallion.
“There is a reflective aspect of it,” Wolff said. “There’s developing a connection to the issues that hopefully continues long past the day you say farewell. It is really important at the CSL to build community. It is one of the key aspects of the office. We all have had experiences around not knowing exactly where we fit on campus, in being a commuter campus. I personally am a non-traditional student, and there’s others in our office as well.”
Wolff added how the CSL is there for volunteer work and community outreach as well as serving as a place to build the UW Tacoma campus and community.
“The CSL is the place where we found a sense of family, and on BreakAway, and the CSL in general, really work hard to provide that community feeling and a place that is welcoming and supportive, not just in connection to service, but relationally and personally.”