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Office of Volunteer Programs

Spring Break Service Trips

What to Expect

TRAVEL: Most of our destination require a great deal of traveling, the one exception to this would be Detroit. All other trips will require 7-16 hours of travel by van or up to 20 hours on an Amtrak Train. 

All trips will depart from and return to campus. The exception to this would be the trip to Washington DC who will depart from and return to Union Station in Chicago.

The trips traveling by van can be somewhat long since there will be 5-6 people and their belongings pilled into the van. Since you will not know everyone on your trip this is a great time to get to know each other better!

For groups traveling by van and whose destination is more than 7 hours away, you will be staying overnight at the halfway point. This could be at a Valpo Alum's house or at a church depending on your destination.

Typically the vans will stop twice during each full day of travel; once for gas and the other for lunch. All members of the group are expected to pay for their own meals during travel.

HOUSING: For most trips you can expect to be staying in a church that has been converted into a service center for volunteers. They typically have have bunk style sleeping arrangements where volunteers bring their own sleeping bag or linen and pillow. Men and women are separated.

There are typically multiple single showers with some privacy. Shower times are limited because of the number of people that need to use them. Shower shoes are encouraged. Again, men and women are typically separated.

Some light chores are asked of those staying onsite. This can include preparing meals, sweeping, mopping and other household style chores. This helps keep the facility clean and keeps maintenance and staff costs low. Everyone is expected to participate in in the completion of assigned tasks.

MEALS: Most volunteer sites will provide 3 meals a day for volunteers. This may include a cold breakfast (cereal, fruit, milk and juice) a sack lunch that you pack for yourself and a hot dinner prepared by fellow volunteers.

Depending on your location, you may choose to eat some meals in the city or town that you are staying in. This can be determined as a group.

THE WORK DAY: Each day you will be expected to rise early (usually by 7am) to get breakfast, pack a lunch and depart for your work site for the day. Most days you will work from 9am until noon when you break for lunch for about a 1/2 hour. Then you will work from 12:30pm until between 3-5pm depending on the project. Most often you have returned to the site by 4pm where you can shower and prepare for dinner or other activities. Some sites will offer guest speakers, free time and/or others site seeing opportunities. No mater what the destination participants are expected to participate in reflection each day.

REFLECTION: Student leaders and trip advisers will lead a reflection period each day to help students process their experiences while on the trip. Each member of our group is expected to participate in discussions and reflections about the trip.Seeing the hard times and challenges of others can be an emotional experience and our student leaders and trip advisers will be trained to help participants process those experiences.

FREE TIME: Each trip will have small amounts of free time. Depending on your destination, you may have the option of exploring the surrounding neighborhood/city or you may be hanging out at the housing site. If students choose to explore they cannot, for any reason explore alone! Students are expected to travel in at least groups of 2. Trip advisers and staff at the volunteer site will determine when students can leave the site. Students are welcome to bring a book or journal but are asked to leave large academic books, laptops and tablets at home. There is not a great deal of room in the vans once everyone is loaded in and these items can take up a lot of space not to mention breaking or being stolen. The University will not take responsibility for any lost or stolen items during the trip.

Most of the housing sites will have entertainment of some kind available. Things like basketball courts, board games, small libraries and other items may be available. Again, this will depend on the site you are staying at.

up next Expectations of Participants

Contact Information

Office of Volunteer Programs
Harre Union, Suite 250
1509 Chapel Drive
Valparaiso, IN 46383
volunteer@valpo.edu
Twitter: @volunteervalpo
219.464.5411
219.464.5381

Carolyn E. Whittier, Ph.D.
Assistant Dean of Students for Greek Life, Leadership & Volunteer Programs
carolyn.whittier@valpo.edu

Debbie Lowenthal
Executive Assistant
debbie.lowenthal@valpo.edu