Spring Break Service

By Matt Hawkins
March 27, 2015

While many college students headed for sunny beaches during spring break, 50 Bradley students trekked across the country to serve others. The University’s Students Today Leaders Forever chapter sent 41 students on a six-city work project blitz while 10 students worked on a Habitat For Humanity project in South Carolina.

The annual STLF Spring Break Pay It Forward Tour exposed students to a range of work projects in Columbus, Ohio; Ocean City, Maryland; Cumberland, Maryland; Norfolk, Virginia; Greensboro, North Carolina; and Atlanta, Georgia. Habitat students spent the week preparing a new resale store in Georgetown, South Carolina.

Students returned to Peoria with a greater appreciation for their surroundings. 

“We got a bigger view of the world,” said STLF participant Glenna Nelson ‘16, an English major from Austin, Texas. “By going outside the college bubble, people definitely realized there’s something bigger than themselves.”

STLF participants experienced a range of work projects, from cleaning a park in Columbus to working on a battleship museum in Norfolk. In Atlanta, they joined with five other STLF chapters to work at a community garden.

“We got work done in one day that would take those groups three weeks to do,” Nelson said. “We were giving them jump starts. The sooner we could get that done, the sooner they would have the ability to impact their communities.”

Habitat students similarly had eye-opening experiences in South Carolina. Long workdays left students exhausted yet invigorated.

“I would go to bed at night tired because I made a difference that day,” said biology major Marshall Moyer ‘15 of Burlington, Iowa.

Despite the tiring adventures, students said the opportunity to make a positive impact while traveling the country was priceless.

Kyle Stumpe ’15, an industrial engineering major from Naperville, Illinois, was thankful for the opportunity to both travel and help others during Spring Break.

“It was incredibly rewarding to see how appreciative people were for our impact,” he said. 

Moyer credited the once-in-a-lifetime college setting for personal growth during the week. He recognized teamwork and maintenance skills would benefit him for life.

“We can go on vacation, but a lot of these opportunities will be hard to find once we’re outside college,” he said. “The skills will stick with us. We’ll look back later in life and have a greater appreciation for what people are doing in the community.”