During spring break this year, High Point University students celebrated the values of service, selflessness and generosity by giving back to communities around the world in a tremendous way. Through the Alternate Spring Break Program, students renovated a home affected by Hurricane Sandy, rebuilt New Orleans homes, and served children in Haiti.
Their efforts, highlighted below, reflect the opportunities that HPU provides to students to expand not only academically, but interpersonally through a holistic education model. Through the university’s innovative approach, students see the bigger picture and discover a world outside of their own.
When HPU students headed to the Jersey Shore during their spring break, they didn’t spend their time at the beach. Instead, they focused on relief efforts for people affected by Hurricane Sandy, which hit the east coast it displaced many from their homes. One home in particular was restored thanks to seven HPU students and four staff advisors that finished drywall, painted and installed new flooring throughout the week.
“When I learned about the alternative break trip to New Jersey, I was excited because I am originally from New Jersey and spent much time there with my family,” says HPU student Victoria Franklin. “The satisfaction of our hard work comes from knowing that in the end, every coat of paint, nail pulled, hole drilled and more is worth it to give a deserving person the chance to live safely and comfortably again.”
Thousands of people were affected by Hurricane Katrina nine years ago and continue to feel the devastation of this category five storm. A group of students from Alpha Phi Omega, a co-ed service fraternity, spent their spring break volunteering in New Orleans with Camp Restore. These 16 students and one advisor spent the week rebuilding three homes affected by Hurricane Katrina.
This eye-opening experience gave a new perspective to students and faculty advisor Meighan Avalos. “Giving back is what our organization is based on – we are a service fraternity, and our passion is volunteering and giving,” Avalos says. “We were able to meet the homeowners of the houses we worked on and their appreciation and gratitude was nothing but rewarding.”
After an earthquake ravaged Haiti four years ago, many were left feeling the effects. Rev. Preston Davis, minister to the university, and 11 students traveled to Cange, Haiti to serve children whose lives have since been turned upside down. HPU students focused on English teaching projects in different rural communities. They also held numerous events for children and adults in the area, including a soccer game where all players received HPU gear, art activities such as painting, and more.
“Teaching English has been our tangible way of doing good, but just as important are the curriculums we have created that allow us to come alongside the children and adults we teach to form relationships and better understand their lives and world,” says Davis. “Our HPU students are taking part in something much larger than themselves – outreach to the world.”
These trips not only allowed students to grow as people, but also to make an impact on many lives. By gaining a global perspective, students graduate from HPU more prepared to tackle the problems of the world while leaving behind a legacy of inspiration.