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Students at the UNC School of Law offered legal assistance on their alternative spring break trip.

Carolina students spend vacation volunteering through alternative spring break programs

For most people, “spring break” conjures images of relaxing on sunny beaches. But many students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill spend their time giving back to others through the university’s alternative spring break programs.

This past spring, many students chose to forego the typical leisure vacation in favor of one of the many outreach trips offered at Carolina during spring break. Many of these trips, like the Habitat for Humanity project in Honduras that was organized by the Kenan-Flagler Business School, sent students to provide basic necessities to people in need. During another trip, students at the UNC School of Law used their legal expertise to provide legal assistance for low- income residents in eastern North Carolina.

While some of the alternative spring break trips were available through UNC’s individual schools and departments, many were offered through the university’s APPLES Service-Learning Program, which supplements traditional classroom-based education with community service.

Each year, the APPLES program plans several trips with various focus areas and destinations that any student can apply for. Some of the APPLES spring break service trips in 2009 focused on disaster relief, Latino issues, urban poverty, native health and civil rights. Depending on the program, students built homes, constructed a church, fed and clothed residents, watched children or taught. Each APPLES spring break trip also involved interaction with public officials, government staff and local residents to further educate participants about their focus areas.

Through its teaching, research and public service, Carolina connects with the people of our state every day in ways that improve lives and build futures.

“A Community Engaged University” recognized by the
 Carnegie Foundation