As the holiday season approaches, many Wartburg students are planning their winter break. While some students will catch up on sleep, others will be racking up some good karma.
Roughly 100 students will be taking part in the 11 different winter break service trips this year according to Renee Sedlacek, Service Learning Coordinator and the advisor for all Wartburg service trips.
“Every year, Wartburg has a variety of service opportunities for students during breaks,” Sedlacek said. “Applications for the winter break trips were due Nov. 4 and the trips are going all over the United States doing a variety of different types of work and focusing on numerous social issues.”
Those who have chosen to participate in the volunteer work will learn which project they were selected to participate in on Nov. 19.
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At last count, Sedlacek reported 98 applicants who are hoping to be part of Wartburg’s long-standing tradition of community service. “[The amount of participants] has leveled off, which is great,” Sedlacek said.
“If you look at the numbers, you will see that we spiked during Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the numbers stayed fairly high for two or three years after. That is just the nature of disaster relief work.”
Sedlacek said experiencing volunteer work and cultivating a sense of civic duty is a highlight of Wartburg College.
“It allows students to take the skills and talents they have now and use them for the common good,” she said. “Often times, I believe students feel they have to wait ’till they are out in the real world to start making a difference and that is absolutely not true.”
But students are not only making a difference in the community or area they volunteer in. Sedlacek said the most critical changes take place within themselves.
“When students go into the experience, they go into it wanting to give back and serve others,” Sedlacek said. “But the most significant piece I think is how they have changed and knowing what they can do, moving forward to make a difference.”
While the chance to join the winter break service trips has passed, several other opportunities are available.
“We offer trips during fall break, winter break, and tour week. I too was one of the students who liked to use break to see my family, but I would challenge students to at least try it once,” Sedlacek said.
To learn more about Wartburg’s service trip experience, see photos and blogs from past participants at www.wartburg.edu/servicetrips.