Spring break a global calling for some

A number of students will take their talents overseas for spring break, whether they be volunteering, studying or role playing.

After a grueling seven weeks spent trying to keep up with classes, student organizations and friends, spring break will be a welcomed escape for many students.

Plans for the break are as diverse as the student body, with agendas varying from touring the East Coast with Temple’s Gospel Choir, to checking out the nightlife in Harlem or working for a living in Delaware County. But for some students, staying in the the U.S. just won’t cut it for spring break.

The students who make up Temple’s chapter of Project Haiti have been planning since September to do some good this spring break in one of the world’s poorest countries. The small group of students will visit two orphanages and a nutrition center in Haiti, to bring donations and attention to children in need, but the donations are not limited to just the bare necessities. Project Haiti will take hygiene products, but also toys, arts and crafts materials.

“It’s the kind of stuff that they don’t have access to, being where they are,” Carly McColgan, a sophomore speech pathology major said.

The group has been fundraising through regular bake sales, the “Artists for Haiti” art drive and sale in December and a “thrift shop” clothing sale that will happen on March 6. So far the group has raised $2,700 to donate to the children in the orphanage they sponsor, St. Francis Xavier Orphanage, in Petite Rivière de l’Artibonite, Haiti.

While they visit, the group will undertake some painting projects around the building, but they will also make time to play with the children. They have already planned a hide-and-seek game using glow-in-the-dark bracelets.

[blockquote who=”Becky Baro” what=”therapeutic recreation major”] Volunteering somewhere that is so different from where we are living is going to be very fulfilling.[/blockquote]

“For me it’s more about the kids…once you meet them, you just can’t stay away,” group president and senior public health major Andrea Echeverri said. “They are so grateful, and you can see that in everything they do.”

“Volunteering somewhere that is so different than where we are living is going to be very fulfilling,” sophomore therapeutic recreation major Becky Baro said. “I don’t think it’s taking away from my vacation. It’s something I really look forward to.”

Senior Fox School of Business student Ashcon Zand was not looking forward to his spring break, but that was only because he didn’t read his syllabus closely enough.

The management information systems and Spanish major enrolled in his honors business capstone without realizing the class included a most-expenses-paid trip to South Australia during spring break to present the research the class has been assembling for a startup company in the regional capital, Adelaide.

Zand said his class of seven students was given an enterprise management consulting project, which is usually reserved for MBA students. The project allows students to provide consultation to a company through extensive research.

“They have a product and they don’t know how to market it,” Zand said. “So we’re figuring out what they have, and where they should go with it.”

Zand said the amount of work he has put into the capstone is more than he has ever done for a class. As a whole, the class will have done hundreds of hours of research and put together at least an 80-page report for the company they are advising.

The workload has been so much that Zand has not even had time to think about what he will do for the rest of his time in what has been declared the world’s fifth most liveable city, according to the Global Liveability Survey. Adelaide is famous for its vineyards and beachfronts, and “Mad March” is especially exciting, with 10 different festivals popping up in and around the city.

“I’m just happy to be in Australia, really,” he said. “I never thought I would be going to Australia for like, 20 years.”

Students who have not been working toward their spring break all year long should not be discouraged from plans to go abroad. One Temple senior is traveling the world this break through the power of imagination.

Math and computer science major, J.B. Parkes, is donning his James Bond best and heading to Mogadishu, Somalia, this spring to gain valuable intelligence on a top-secret new technology developing in the area. At the very least, he’s going to act like it.

Parkes is part of a live action role-playing society, in which people come together and take on characters to act out a unique scenario.

“I had done theater in high school and played video games all my life,” Parkes said. “And [live action role-playing] is the love child of these two activities.”

This particular game is called “Consortium,” and will be held in Boston, at MIT, which can seem like another country. The buildings around the university will represent landmarks from the real Mogadishu, and Parkes will be part of a secret organization, fighting to get control of the new resources, covering up scandals and dodging unfriendly foam darts from the enemies – all while trying to bring Somalia under the influence of his group.

“Today I’m J.B. Parkes,” he said. “But [during] spring break, I might be a 007, working for MI6 to take down a terrorist cell, trying to steal the energy-rich materials for weapons. I can’t wait.”

Rachel McDevitt can be reached at rachel.mcdevitt@temple.edu.

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