By Miles Macdonald

During spring break, some students will be going on an alternative spring break, and helping others in different parts on the country and in other parts of the world. One group, led by professor Veronica Riha will be taking a trip to Costa Rica.

“We will be helping out at a wildlife rescue center, and a sea turtle station. We will also be visiting a coffee co-op and a cloud forest,” said Riha.

During their two-night stay at the sea turtle station, they will patrol the beach at night in search for baby sea turtle hatchlings. The students may conduct population studies, tag the baby turtles, or possibly transport the turtles to a protected area or to the ocean.

After their stay at the sea turtle station, they will stay two days at the base of the Arenal Volcano. On their way, the students will visit a butterfly farm and an elementary school. In Arenal, they will have a chance to walk on lava beds in the Volcano National Park. This is also where the group will visit the Asis Wildlife Rescue Center.

The 16 students left March 1 and will come back to the States March 9. They will be going through the group Ecoteach.

Another group going on an alternative spring break will be visiting New York and New Jersey, aiding in the relief efforts of Hurricane Sandy. This group of students will be led by Brandon Rennie, a nursing student and resident coordinator, in his senior year.

The 10 students will be going through the United Way and will be gone March 3-10.

“We will be mentoring students grades K-12 at a Boys and Girls Club in New Jersey. Before the students get out of school, we will be doing work; performing maintenance work, cleaning, and painting,” said Rennie.

After the kids arrive at the center, the Madonna students will play games with the children and tutor them. Next, the children will break into groups and, led by the Madonna students, they will do different activities, like going to a computer lab or playing outside.

Rennie, who lead the same trip last year, expressed excitement on going back again and hopes  he is remembered by the students at the Boys and Girls Club.

One day during their trip, the group will be taken on a tour of New York City. This will be somewhat of a free day for the students to roam around the city.

On their trip, the students will also go to a high school and help high school students prepare for college; they will share stories about their collegiate career. The group will also educate the students about some things that some high school students don’t know about college such as financial aid, and the wide variety of majors that they could pursue.

“I think it’s going to be fun and a good experience. I would rather help others than use spring break for a time to party,” said Nate Gonyea, a sports management student, in his senior who is going on the New York/New Jersey trip.



Students to help others during spring break