Two Successful Spring Break Service Trips Held in 2023

Twenty-two students and two staff members from Student Leadership and Service (SLS) traveled to the Outer Banks of North Carolina for the SLS Spring Break Service Trip, March 12-14. The trip, which is supported by The Lancaster Endowment Fund for Student Leadership, was the first spring break service trip since the pandemic. 

It started off a bit precariously– snowflakes and ice were falling as the group boarded the charter bus that Sunday morning! The rainy/icy weather didn’t dampen the students’ spirits however– even though the rain canceled the service project (native plant trail work at The Coastal North Carolina National Wildlife Refuges Gateway Visitor Center), we were able to tour one of the wildlife refuges instead, and we saw a family of otters in the wild. That was a big hit with the students! The group also learned about the Algonquian Native Americans and the early English settlers on the final day of the trip – the one day that the sun appeared. In addition, students participated in a series of reflections about leading through adversity. Here are some quotes from the post-trip participant evaluation:

 “I am more likely to participate in leadership development programs because from this experience I was able to learn so much about the community in N.C. and grow as a learner and leader. I want to continue doing so while having fun at the same time!”

“Without a doubt, I strengthened my own awareness of my values, strengths, and limitations. For example, my values of wanting to give back to the community and advocating for social issues in N.C. strengthened after learning about the wildlife and histories. I was also able to strengthen my communication skills during free time and enjoy the moment even if it didn’t go as planned.”

 “After this trip, I do feel more likely to participate in leadership development programs because I felt very welcomed. I got to know Kacey and Emily and met other Meredith students in a safe and welcoming environment.”

In addition to the trip sponsored by the Office of Student Leadership and Service, Campus Chaplain Stacy Pardue led a group of students to New York City. After landing at JFK, the group hit the streets of the Big Apple running, where they set about visiting and volunteering with various nonprofits and charitable organizations. 

Students met with Valerie Bartlett of Commit-2-Change, and learned about the nonprofit’s work educating and assisting female students in India and South Asia. Following this was an active session at Adolph St. Ochs School with young girls and coaches involved with PowerPlay, an organization focused on empowering girls through sports and fitness. Halfway through the week, the group volunteered with two community-focused churches, 5th Avenue Presbyterian and Metropolitan Baptist, where they helped prepare a large lunch and worked with children from the former’s after-school program. A meeting with Krishna Stone of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, an AIDS-focused nonprofit, taught them about the disease’s presence in the past and present. Their final experience was spreading out across NYC to deliver meals for the Stanley M. Isaacs Senior Center, a Meals on Wheels organization, that has operated since 1964. 

Overall, the trip afforded the group an expanded knowledge of and experience with various types of nonprofits, as well as exposure to one of the country’s most prominent cities.

Melyssa Allen

News Director
316 Johnson Hall
(919) 760-8087
Fax: (919) 760-8330