An Alternative Spring Break


Piedmont University students spent their spring break traveling to Kentucky to assist with rebuilds after devastating tornadoes struck the state PHOTO//Morgan Cooper

Abbey Grace Venham, A&E Editor

Spring break. The long sought-after week of no school, no homework, no alarms and hours to spend in the sunshine and warm weather. Time to find a beach, a pool or a comfortable place to lay back and relax. However, not everybody this spring break chose to do those things. A group of very honorable Piedmont University students and staff were able to use their week off for other purposes. 

Rather than taking part in what would typically come to mind when one thinks of a college student’s spring break, this group of students chose to take part in what is known as an “alternative spring break.” This year’s alternative was a trip to Kentucky to assist individuals that had lost their homes to tornadoes; Piedmont University partners with the Fuller Center for Housing in order to be a part of a rebuild project for homes that have suffered damage from natural disasters. 

A grant obtained by Rev. Tim Garvin-Leighton, allowed the eager students to not only partake in the trip but cover all additional expenses, including travel, stay and meals. 

“I had a class with Rev. Tim and thought the trip looked like fun,” says Piedmont University sophomore Morgan Cooper. “I didn’t feel like relaxing by a pool somewhere because I have plenty of opportunities to do that.” 

As the group ventured to Kentucky, they were asked to set aside their normal studying and mid-semester habits to instead be repairing drywall, executing a full paint job and operating power tools and other various equipment such as a nail gun. 

“I had done some paint work and stuff before, so I wasn’t too scared about that, but using the nail gun was nerve-wracking,” a previously inexperienced Cooper says.

The group was delighted to see the impact of their choice to avoid sticking their toes in the sand this spring break and trade it for the benefit of a community they were not previously connected to. 

“The work was very rewarding,” says Cooper of the team’s efforts, and an additional opportunity to personally meet the owners of a house they were reconstructing.

 This trip put into perspective what Piedmont students and any other spring breakers typically do not consider that not everyone is awarded the same opportunity to kick back on a beach somewhere and relax. In this example, those who have lost the roof over their heads to tornadoes. 

Piedmont has done this trip for several years prior, stopping briefly due to the pandemic. Other trips have been taken to Louisiana and Florida in the past as a result of hurricanes and tornadoes. 

“My favorite part was bonding with people that I had never really met before,” says Cooper. “Bonding overall as a group through the work we did was very fun.” 

Next time spring break rolls around, consider what you can do for others by participating in an alternative spring break.