Student Coordinator Erika Williams Talks Alternative Spring Break with

Apr 07, 2011

Several colleges around the country participate in Alternative Spring Break (ASB) programs, in which handfuls of their students forgo traditional spring break activities to dedicate a week in service to various organizations around the country. One such college is Kansas State University. Recently, talked with K-State's student ASB coordinator Erika Williams about her experience with the project.

By Eric Garneau

children hands in What's your name, and what do you study at Kansas State?

Erika Williams: My name is Erika Williams and I am a second year theater student with a concentration in pre-medicine and an emphasis in performance. How did you first hear about Alternative Spring Break?

EW: I first became aware of the program through advertising in an introductory leadership class and other leadership organizations I was involved in my freshman year. This program sounded like something that was right up my alley, so I took the plunge and applied. How did you decide the program was right for you? Was it difficult to give up your spring break?

EW: I decided this particular break program was right for me after the first day of my service trip last year. I was immensely impacted by those we served and had a life-changing experience. I still cherish connections I made in that first trip and returned to the same site this past spring break. It was not at all difficult to 'give up' my spring break. I would much rather serve and be doing something productive for a week than laze about. I would give any amount of time to work with these organizations and use myself towards a purpose. After all, talent is only a gift if you share it. What service project did you end up participating in?

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EW: I participated in the Chicago site; we volunteered with the Roseland-Pullman Boys and Girls Club. This club resides in the southeast side of Chicago in a neighborhood that is afflicted with drugs, gangs and crime, among other things, but it offers so much good within the community, especially in regards to children. What was your experience like? Were there any particular difficulties you encountered?

EW: My experience was life-changing. Never before had I felt so much fervor while serving; I feel as if I have left pieces of my heart at the Roseland-Pullman Boys and Girls Club and I will do anything to serve there again. This opportunity opened an entirely new outlook on the world around me and what I can do to benefit others. Do you see yourself participating in ASB next year?

EW: I definitely see myself participating next year and years to come while I am a student at K-State. Is there anything else you'd like to tell our readers about your service experience?

EW: This service experience changed me for the better and continues to be a tool that I use in leadership and in daily life. Every person should reach out and use what gifts and talents they possess to benefit others and receive the gifts others have to offer as well.

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