For a group of students at The College of Idaho, the upcoming Spring Break will be unlike anything shown on MTV. The week many reserve for road trips and beach parties instead will be dedicated to two service trips led by the College’s department of Campus Ministries.
The first trip, led by C of I junior Kali Reider, takes place March 16-19 in Caldwell. The second, led by Campus Ministries coordinator Cindi Duft and director of multicultural affairs Arnold Hernandez, is set for March 19-25 in southern Texas. For more information about the service trips, visit www.collegeofidaho.edu/campusministries.
The local trip is the third annual C of I project in Caldwell. Students will work just a few blocks from campus at the home of a single mother, painting the house, installing carpet and framework, doing yard work and participating in group activities. Reider emphasized the impact the project will have not only on the family involved, but also on the participants as they learn and grow through serving their community.
“Campus Ministries does a lot of trips all over the U.S. and the world, and we think it's just as valuable to (serve) right down the road,” Reider said. “This trip is short, fun and surprising to most everyone who goes. I’m so honored that I get to organize it and help (the community).”
The second trip will explore southern Texas and migrant worker issues. The goals of Duft, Hernandez and the 15 student participants are twofold:
"First, we want to serve those in need,” Duft said. “And second, we want to gain insights into issues of human rights, labor rights, immigration and environment that we’d be able to get only through experience.”
The C of I group will travel to impoverished rural Texas, often called the “colonias,” where migrant farm workers and their families live on very meager means. Students will work closely with an immigrant and refugee shelter in Brownsville and an organization called Proyecta Azteca, which is very similar to Habitat for Humanity. The group also plans to visit the Homeland Security Detention Center and Immigration Court in Los Fresnos. The service project includes construction, gardening, social work and visiting with neglected inmates and refugees.
Students have been researching environmental and human rights issues in the states bordering Mexico by watching documentaries and learning about American immigration law. The project leaders hope to bring that research to life by having students work side-by-side with those living at the center of the controversy as well as by video documentation of the group’s experiences.
Founded in 1891, The College of Idaho is the state’s oldest private liberal arts college. It has a century-old tradition of educating some of the most accomplished graduates in Idaho, including six Rhodes Scholars, three Marshall Scholars, and another ten Truman and Goldwater Scholars. The College is located on a beautiful campus in Caldwell, Idaho. Its distinctive PEAK curriculum challenges students to attain competencies in the four knowledge peaks of the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field, enabling them to graduate with an academic major and three minors in four years. For more information on The College of Idaho, visit www.collegeofidaho.edu.