Many Students wanted to give their stories about Alternative Spring Break, and their stories are presented here:
Hi my name is Linda Peck and I have been fortunate enough to go on ASB to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary two years now. My major is Social Work. This year there were two workshops that I attended, one was on puppy mills and the other was on feral cats. Both of these workshops were very informative and I was able to learn more about the dogs that come from puppy mills and about feral cats and what I can do as one person to help. ASB and what it meant to me: Being able to go to best friends and to interact with the staff and the animals was an amazing experience. It was an opportunity to spend time and talk with people, and to hear their stories, and to learn about the support and love that is provided daily to homeless animals that have found a home at the sanctuary. To learn about rescue organizations and knowing the latest information on current animal welfare news & happenings. The campaigns that they have to help educate people on how one person can help to make a contribution to promote animal welfare on a grass roots level. Before going to best friends I didn’t understand how one voice can help make a difference. After spending time at Best Friends I now know that my voice can be that to help.
My name is Meghan Kwan-Smith and I am a biology major. I really wanted to spend my spring break during something meaningful and beneficial to others. I didn’t want to do the traditional beach and alcohol scene. I wanted to help others. I had adopted my first dog with my fiance recently and was really affected by how much those animals need good, loving homes. I wish I could have adopted them all and taken them home with me, but I couldn’t. What I could do, though, was help out at Best Friends Animal Sancutary.
My experience turned out to be even better than I was hoping. This was such a wonderful opportunity and I feel so blessed that I was able to participate in it. I was able to work with beautiful and loving dogs, cats, horses, pigs, and donkeys. I cleaned, groomed, walked, socialized, and fed them. I was so impressed with how friendly and sweet the animals were, even those who had hard pasts previous to coming to Best Friends. I learned first hand how possible it is for animals to bounce back after having such terrible situations to live in. They just need lots of love and lots of patience. Most shelters don’t take the time for that, but Best Friends is NOT a shelter; it is, in every sense of he word, a sanctuary. What proved this to me more than anything else was watching June Bug come home. My sister and I had taken this energetic dog on a sleepover to our hotel room with us. What a character she was! So cute and sweet, but bouncing everywhere. We knew she was a having a good time, which is why we felt so bad the next day when we took her back to the sanctuary. Much to our pleasant surprise, though, the closer we got to the sanctuary, the more happy and excited June Bug bacame. She knew she was going home.
I am so glad that I had the opportunity to participate in such an obviously wonderful program. Thank-you Ani for letting us share our experience with others and for taking an interest in what we were able to accomplish. I wish you luck in your writing. Once again, let me know if there’s anything else I can help you with.
Jon Glenn, Director Jordan Campus Library (staff advisor for Seattle ASB trip)
Why did you decide to go? The opportunity to work with students, do service and see new places
Was it what you thought it would be? The Seattle ASB trip went very well and exceeded my expectations.
What did you learn? I learned how cooperation between business, government, citizens, environmentalists and the mining/logging industry is necessary to maintain a healthy and livable environment.
I learned how yard and food waste can be kept out of landfills and turned into compost in a cost effective way. It requires political will, an informed and concerned population, and private markets.
I learned how non-native plant species can disrupt the balance of an ecosystem with widespread consequences. I also learned about what can be done to restore that balance. It requires time, money, dedication, policy and a lot of volunteers.
I learned about marine life and how it is threatened.
What did you do? We planted native plants in an area cleared of non-native plants. We worked in a nursery moving and repotting plants that will be used in restoration work. We toured the largest composting facility in the United States. We went with a marine biologist to observe and learn about the rich life in the Puget Sound.
Major: I am not sure about my major, but it will probably be something in bussiness.
Why did you decide to go? The reason i went to seattlle because i wanted to see the city and do some valunteering work.
Was it what you thought it would be? yes it was what i was thinking, and I am glade I went.
What did you learn? I learned about planting trees, team work, learned how good it would be if we all human beings start thinking about environment, and not waste everthing the way we are all doing now a days.
What did you do? we mostly planted trees, water the tress, and did something for fun durring our free times.
I personally have changed a lot since I came back from this trip. I do not waste as much as i used to do, I try to buy locally produced Items.
Major: Undecided– English? 🙂
Why did you decide to go? I have planned and organized two spring break service trips for high school students, so I am familliar with the concept of Alternative Spring Break. I wanted to go on this trip because I am on the Environmental Team of the Thayne Center Service Council, and wanted to enhance my knowledge of the power of environmental consciousness. I feel that through the ASB trips I have been on, I have built close friendships, have learned more through hands on experience about humanitarianism and community engagement, and have had more fun than any other spring break opportunities presented! Because the school funds ASB, it also made it really easy to go financially, and I was especially excited not to have to plan this one! 🙂
What did you do? We had six weekly meetings leading up to the trip. Thank heaven most everything was already in place thanks to Linnie Spor, Michael Whitney, Whitney Rose, and others from the Thayne Center Service Council who planned the Seattle trip last year. Our group did not have to worry about planning for food, accomodations, plane tickets, or even where we would be doing our service, as those before had come up with such a successful format the year before. We spent six days in Seattle: three service days, one fun day, and two travel days. We planted in biosolids, went to a large composting facility, and learned about how seattle is environmentally focused. One thing I personally loved was that everytime you throw something away, you have three bins to choose from: recycle, compost, and trash. All of King County is this way, and it saves in immense amount of dump space. I was surprised to learn that instigating a composting facility was not a governmental affair. Cedar Point Composting Facility is a private business who partners with community services (such as garbage trucks and GIS systems.) The citizens can then purchase a bin and use it for less than the cost of a garbage bin. I was excited to see that private businesses and people were passionate about this enough to make sustainable change-not coming solely from governmental enforcement or encouragement.
One thing I really loved about the trip was the fun we had. Though we worked much of the day, we still had a significant amount of time to explore the city of Seattle, wandering through its streets and taking part in the local cuisine. My favorite part was that our hostel was right on Pikes Street, across the street from the iconic Pikes Market. Every morning, before we had to head to our service site, I bought a carton of blueberries in addition to a freshly baked goodie from one of the bakeries in the market. All of this was eaten by lunch time! 🙂
Overall, I thought this was a very worthwhile and valuable experience to my community and service education. I learned the importance of recycling and composting, and the value of making individual changes in my lifestyle to impact the earth we live in. It was wonderful! 🙂
I am glad to see the globe doing an article on SLCC ASB! I would be happy to answer questions.
Autumn Kay Salinas
My name is Autumn Kay Salinas and I am graduating with an AS in Sociology and a certificate to teach yoga. I went on ASB to learn about how Best Friends Animal Society addresses community issues all around the nation and how I could help these same issues in my own community. I definately learned a lot on this trip; however it was more beneficial than I ever could have imagined. I learned so many things in such little time, I was amazed at how getting involved can reveal so many different opportunities. We were able to help them with care for their animals as well as projects in place in order to improve the sanctuary. We also learned about many issues such as, puppy mills, hoarding, feral cat overpopulation and the trap and release program that is saving money and animals in communities all over. We also learned how we can help the animal community where we live, which is important! Going on an ASB trip is something every college student should experience. Thanks,Autumn Salinas
Tufui M. Taukeiaho
Why did you decide to go? It was opportunity for me to build my resume and get out of the box. I was highly encouraged by staff member at the Thayne Center for service and learning.
Major: Major is General Studies
Was it what you thought it would be? The trip was exactly how it was explained by my advisors and peers. Have you been to Kanab. This place is beautiful and so is Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. It was quite peaceful. I didn’t expect that much peace.
What did you learn? I learned what a puppy mill is. Do you know what a puppy mill is? I learned about the amount of love people have for animals and their safety. This whole complex is funded by private donors and there are some big hitters(donors). One lady donated 500k because of the love she had for horses. Amazing.
What did you do? We worked in every animal dept. We clean, made a trail, cared for animals, and clean some more after the animals. We also gain useful info and had reflections.
If you have the means and time to go, you need to go on an ASB trip. Make the time.
My name is Kelsey Green and I am majoring in Elementary Education. I decided to go on an Alternative Spring Break because I wanted to make a difference in the world if only for a week. I learned how invasive blackberry bushes are in Washington. Which taught me that if you let things creep in and not take care of them right away, they will take over until there is nothing left, both physically and mentally. I learned about the race to prevent the forest from extinction, the waters from pollution, and the many ways a big city can reduce, reuse, and recycle. For example, we visited Everett Compost Facility the largest compost facility in the world. All of Seattle is required to separate food waste, recyclable materials, and trash (if not you will be fined). Everett takes the materials to be composted and has the process completed in 60 days and is completely environmentally friendly while they do it. This is just one of the many, many stories that have inspired me. This trip was not what I expected at all, not better, not worse, just different. I would recommend this to anyone! It’s an experience I will always remember and it truly touched my life. If you want more experiences let me know. We did a lot and a lot touched me.
Why did you decide to go? I decided to go because I wanted to do something a little more meaningful with my spring break than just sitting around and relaxing. Major: Psychology major Was it what you thought it would be? It was everything I thought it would be and more! What did you learn? I learned a lot of things. Most importantly, I learned of the necessity of having animals in our lives, and keeping those animals as happy and well treated as we ourselves would like to be treated. Animals helps calm those who are stressed, provide loyal and loving companions, and some can even be trained as service animals to help those with diseases or injuries. I also learned about some awful things that can happen to animals that many of us know nothing about, such as the puppy mill-pet store connection. What did you do? We mostly helped the caretakers of the houses do their daily chores- washing, mucking, cleaning, etc, but we also had a lot of time to socialize with the animals and have fun. Although we were working most the day, the organizers understood it was our spring break, and understand that not everybody is capable or willing to do every task. We were able to choose what we wanted to do with each animal. We also took a trip to Zion and to Escalante, and were even able to take a dog or a cat back to the hotel with us for a sleepover. My advice is, take an alternative spring break trip if you can. It may not be as relaxing or as glamorous as other spring break trips, but it definitely is a lot of fun and leaves you feeling great. It’s true; every little bit of help counts, especially with charities such as Best Friends. You truly do feel like you’ve made a difference.