While many use spring break as a chance to visit home or take a vacation, Concordia students also have opportunities to use the time off from class to participate in service-learning trips. Five groups of Cobbers packed into vans and headed out across the country to spend their break building homes with Habitat for Humanity.
The main goal of each Habitat for Humanity build is to provide an affordable, stable home for a family in need. While spring break is not long enough for students to build an entire house from start to finish, each group works to complete phases of the build or help with other special projects.
We caught up with student trip leaders shortly after they returned to campus to capture some highlights from Spring Break 2016:
Many people on our trip commented on the impact of watching a house turn into a home. Slowly, our work sites began looking more and more like a place that someone would eventually live. We often reflected on the idea that families would make memories inside the walls we were building or restoring. Of course, we also had some good fun exploring Birmingham, ziplining through Red Mountain, meeting people in the community, and dancing in the rain while we worked. – Kacey Finch '18
The hardest part of the trip for me was hearing about damage the day after we experienced a tornado in Pensacola. The tornado hit about three miles away from the church we were staying in, so it didn't directly affect our group or our work, but hearing stories the next day about families who lost their homes made me realize how fast things can change and how to not take anything for granted.
The best part of the trip, though, was seeing how hard everyone worked and how willing everyone was to work together and get to know each other, it was super encouraging. Also, we accomplished a lot of work on the house we were working on, and being able to see that process was sweet. – Kaley Hedberg '18
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
The best part of the trip was definitely the fact that all of the members came out of the trip feeling like they were part of a family. The amount of time we have already spent together after getting back from our trip is kind of insane, but incredibly amazing. The way everyone connected truly represents the community of Concordia. – Angela Stahlmann '18
Our goals included developing connections with the other students who went on the trip in addition to using the time of our spring break to serve the community we were at. Both goals were successfully accomplished! – Colby Kleinsasser '17
Santa Fe, New Mexico
The first day it snowed a lot, but that didn't stop us from building. We continued to build the roof despite the fact that the snow was blowing in our faces. Despite challenges, we formed incredible friendships. Everyone on the trip made new friends, and we all returned to Concordia with strong relationships and amazing memories. – Becca Roe '17
I loved to see the progress we made on the house over the course of the week. On this trip, we had the most unique projects that I have ever worked on at a Habitat build. We built a traditional adobe wall and a coyote fence, which are both very unique to New Mexico. We were also able to frame the roof of a home. It's amazing to be able to see our work progress throughout the week! – Katherine Dosland '16
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
The best part of this trip was twofold. First, simply being able to help others and make a difference in their lives. Secondly, many students – myself included – also really liked having some free time and getting to explore Oklahoma City, which had much more to offer than anyone really expected.
For me, this trip was pretty bittersweet, as it was my fourth and final one. I've made many great memories on my trips, and this one was no exception! – Evan Berg-Dibley '16
Laura Caroon '06 is a content strategist at Concordia College.