» By TRENT SINGER – tsinger@my.apsu.edu

Although many APSU students have made plans for fall break, the Student Life and Leadership has made some fulfilling opportunities available for a very affordable price. For only $70, students can spend their fall break in St. Louis or Knoxville doing community service and working with underprivileged children.

“We’ve been doing alternative fall break trips for three years now,” said Alexandra Howard, assistant director for Service and Civic Engagement. “This is our first year that we’re offering two trips.”

The trips will focus on outreach but will also allow students time to explore the city and enjoy their getaway.

Students on the St. Louis trip will be working with Neighborhood Houses, an organization that works with underprivileged youth in urban areas. The excursion day will feature several museum tours and a tour of the St. Louis Arch.

The Knoxville students will be working with Habitat for Humanity, an organization devoted to building decent and affordable housing, and Urban Gardens, an organization with the mission of improving urban gardening. On the excursion day, students will get to travel to and hike the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee.

Previous trips included Appalachia and Atlanta, where the group of APSU students built houses and worked with children in the community. Students like Ashley Schmidt experienced southern Florida by seeing and swimming near the endangered manatee of southern Florida and taking a glass bottom boat tour of the coral reefs off the coast.

“These trips are really eye opening and anyone who ever has the chance to get to go needs to take it,” Schmidt said.

“People live their lives with the idea that they need tons of stuff, and they come to school to get a degree which will help them get a job to buy more stuff,” Schmidt said.

“Yet, the thing people never get the chance to see is that after we start to get an education, even if all of our ‘stuff’ is taken away we still have something that can benefit us and the ones around us.”

This is an opportunity for any APSU student unsure of what to do on fall break, looking to travel and volunteer to help communities. “It is a great opportunity and is very affordable,” Howard said. “Both trips are just $70 for four days. Everything is included.”

Anyone interested in signing up for the alternative fall break trip to St. Louis or Knoxville is encouraged to sign up quickly. Registration is due by Wednesday, Sept. 28. For more information, email Alexandra Howard at howarda@apsu.edu. TAS