Think outside the box when planning your spring break


Submitted photo from alternative spring break 2013 in Columbiana County.

Lindsay Miller

It was a sunny 75 degrees in the woods of Hellbender Bluff where Hannah Yackley spent her 2012 spring break. As a participant of Kent State’s Alternate Spring Break program, Yackley had the opportunity to take walks, learn to grill, paint a community resource center and make archery targets all while helping a the local community in Ohio.

Every March for the past three years, Yackley has spent her spring break in Columbiana County with her peers.

Yackley, senior Spanish and conflict management double major, participated in Kent State’s ASB program for three years.

The ASB program offers spring break trips to seven locations: Buffalo, N.Y.; Chicago; Cleveland; Columbiana County, Ohio; Washington D.C.; Youngstown, Ohio; and Spencer, W.Va.

Anna Gosky, Senior Special Assistant in the Office of Experiential Education and Civic Engagement said Washington D.C. and Chicago are the most popular destinations because of the big city feel. But, she receives positive feedback on all trips.

Gosky said they do their best to keep the trips affordable and have destination trips ranging from $80 to $400.

“We have an $80 trip to Columbiana County and I don’t know any place else where I can go for $80 and get room and board, transportation and get an amazing experience,” Gosky said.

Yackley said she has only participated in the Columbiana County trip. The group of volunteers spends six days on the Kent State Salem and East Liverpool campuses focusing on poverty and social justice issues.

“There’s a certain appeal to helping people who genuinely need it in an area close to home, which is often forgotten,” Yackley said. “I cannot stress the value in these trips, and I highly recommend that everyone goes at least once while they are here at Kent. The impact the trip has on you, your relationships and the community you are helping is indescribable.”

This year, Yackley is going on a road trip with her friends to Maine, her first spring break she won’t be volunteering, but suggests other students try ASB trips.

“Helping people is important, and these trips allow you to make a huge impact for people in a community that does not see much hope,” Yackley said. “They are well aware that you could have been spending your break at the beach and they are always blown away by the fact that you chose to invest in their community instead.”

While not all students are aware of Kent State’s ASB trips, they are not the only option available for affordable spring break trips.

Greg Hanwell, senior fashion design major, said after hearing about the Kent State ASB trips, he would be interested, but has other plans for this year’s spring break.

Hanwell said he takes advantage of the time off to visit friends and family.

“Since not all universities have their spring breaks at the same time, it’s a great opportunity to visit friends at other schools,” Hanwell said. “And there are places in Ohio that are fun, like Cleveland or Columbus.”

Last year, Hanwell said he travelled to Florida to stay with his friend’s grandparents and this year will be going to New York City to visit friends.

“I will be taking the Megabus from Pittsburgh, and the last time I checked ticket prices [last week], they were about $60 round trip, but when I added more tickets to my cart because my friend and I talked about going together, it was $90 for two, so $45 each person,” Hanwell said. “That’s not bad at all, and the bus has Wi-Fi and plug outlets so that’s nice.

Outside that, the only thing I’d be paying for would be food and shopping.”

For students who haven’t already planned their spring break trip, there are still multiple spots open on the ASB trips. Contact Ann Gosky at [email protected] or stop by her office on the fifth floor of the University Library.

Contact Lindsay Miller at [email protected].