When spring break rolls around in college, some of the most popular places to go are the warmer beaches in Florida or the relaxing atmosphere of home. Yet some students travel out of state for other reasons than the warmer climate or even out of the country.
One honors class called Canada: More than Snow, Hockey & Maple Syrup taught by Patrick McLean, travelled to Canada, stopping at Ottawa and Toronto. The class was able to check out three art museums, one being the McMichael Canadian Art Collection. The students’ trip was filled with opportunities to explore Canadian stores and restaurants, enjoy a hockey game featuring the Ottawa Senators and to experience Canada’s political scene.They went to the Parliament building in Ottawa, where they learned of Canada’s political system worked.
Caro, Mich.,first-year Leah Zawerucha, enjoyed exploring Canada with her class. “I would definitely recommend this class,” said Zawerucha. “It’s really interesting, especially since Canada is our closest neighbor, and yet not many people know anything about Canada.”
Zawerucha’s favorite part of the trip was going to the Canadian Canoe Museum, since her family canoes. The museum offered information about the construction of canoes and kayaks, the different types of canoe and kayaks, and the comparison between old and modern canoes.
Overall, the class teaches the students the history and some interesting facts about Canada, and the trip adds to the experience. There is a good chance that this course will be an option again for next year.
Another trip over spring break occurred with the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship on campus. They travelled to Morgantown, W.Va., and were lead by the InterVarsity staff worker Jacqueline Nowak. For this trip, they participated in an outreach event for the community and experienced its culture and environment. Some of the activities the students did included visiting different churches like Mt. Calvary and Stonewood Alliance in order to learn what local organizations are doing to bring hope to impoverished communities with low employment rates and poor education. With the youth outreach event, the students had the chance to reach out to the kids in the community by playing games with them and teaching them different passages from the bible.
Macomb, Mich., first-year Darian Elson stated that her favorite part was meeting new people. Not only eight students from Albion College participated in the trip but 35 other students from different colleges from around the country also were involved.
“We made really close friends with the people from other colleges,” said Elson. “The relationships I made during the week [were] great ones, so it makes me sad that it will be a while ‘till I see them again.”
Finally, from the beaches of South and North Carolina, the class of ecology and environment, Environmental 201, travelled to learn more about the coastal erosion that’s occurring and talk to the community about the environment.
The community worked together to drudge up sand from inlets and put it back on the beach because the sea level was rising and the coast eroding due to climate change. Yet in doing so, it also affects the endangered species on the beaches like birds, sea turtles and oysters.
“We did volunteer work with the coastal federation,” said Tawas City, Mich. junior Michael Varney. “They try to protect the coast through a bunch of volunteers, and we bagged oyster shells because oysters have lost a huge percentage of their population in the last hundred years because of overfishing.”
Another interesting thing the class experienced was visiting the sea turtle hospital at an aquarium where they saw injured turtles being tended to. The students were able to have this unique opportunity because of the connections through Albion College.
“Albion has a lot of alumni connections so you get to do stuff that you wouldn’t normally get to do or see,” said Grand Rapids first-year Emily VanderWagen., “We wouldn’t have been able to get into the hospital if Dr. Lincoln didn’t know anyone there.”
Much of the trip circled around talking to people from the community and management engineers, touring the beaches and taking daily notes.
This class is taught yearly and is run by the CSE, the Center for Sustainability of the Environment. While the class travels every year, they always visit a different place for new and interesting opportunities that anyone interested in the environment can experience.