April 10, 2015, BY Paula Cogan Myers

The options for students to spend spring break growing as leaders, doing service and learning from the communities they visit are expanding. This year, 10 different trips gave over 150 Bucknell students the opportunity to do just that. 

Below, find out more about each trip including the Appalachia Service Project through engineering, B.A.C.E.S., Bucknell Brigade, Civil Rights Spring Break, Engineering Success Alliance, Habitat for Humanity, French & Francophone Studies Immersion, Outdoor Education & Leadership, Sandy Recovery Team, and Selma-Ferguson Truth-Telling Weekend.

Appalachia Service Project — Engineering Service Learning Trip, Jonesborough, Tennessee


A group of 15 engineering students and two faculty members spent their spring break performing construction in northeastern Tennessee. They worked in partnership with the Appalachia Service Project, a non-profit organization established in 1969 to repair homes for low-income families.

Each day, around 10 members of the group helped build a new single story house, which included installing a mud sill, floor joists and decking, and fabricating all of the exterior and interior walls. On the second project, a five-person crew replaced a wooden deck at the entrance to a home and enjoyed frequent and meaningful interactions with the homeowners.


B.A.C.E.S. Bucknell (Bucknell Advancing Communities by Educating & Serving) Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic  


This student-run organization sponsored a trip for 18 students and two advisers to travel to the Dominican Republic for the ninth year running. The group helped run a food drive, build new housing, prepare for passion fruit planting, and deliver donated medical supplies, toys, clothing and books.

Back on campus, BACES raises funds and awareness for its Educate-a-Child program. Contributions benefit students at a school sponsored by BACES' parent organization, ACES.

 Bucknell Brigade, Nueva Vida, Nicaragua   


The Bucknell Brigade to Nicaragua spent the week helping with several community projects and learning about the region. They hiked in the mountains, toured the cities of Managua and Masaya and learned more about the history of Nicaragua and current social and political issues there.

Some students worked in the health clinic, helping  in the pharmacy and shadowing doctors. Others had the opportunity to go into the field with doctors to help translate as they visited patients in their homes. Outside, students helped with digging a trench needed to lay pipe, bending metal rods and sifting and preparing cement for concrete construction, and helping put in a water filtration system at a sesame plant.  

Civil Rights Spring Break - The Unfinished Journey, Memphis, Tennessee & Little Rock, Arkansas


The Unfinished Journey took students to Memphis, Tenn., Little Rock, Ark., and the University of Mississippi to explore the ongoing legacy of the Civil Rights Movement and serve the community through Meals on Wheels and the Memphis Dream Center.

The group visited the Monumental Baptist Church, Sun Studios, the Civil Rights Museum and the Clinton Presidential Library, as well as Little Rock Central High School, where the Little Rock Nine faced angry resistance as the goal of school integration was tested in 1957. At the University of Mississippi, students participated in a discussion about James Meredith, the first African-American student to be admitted and attend the University. They also visited the Old Miss archives, the Ida B. Wells Museum and campus monuments to social justice.   

Engineering Success Alliance Scholars in Service, New York, New York


This year, nine Engineering Success Alliance scholars along with two faculty advisers traveled to New York, N.Y., for a new Scholars in Service trip. They spent the week at the Lower East Side Girls Club (LESGC) in Manhattan delivering engineering outreach activities to more than 40 middle school girls.

They also participated in the LESGC's Pi Day celebration, toured Google, saw a Broadway show and connected with CEO of The Ride, Richard Humphrey '74, for a backstage tour.


Habitat for Humanity, Albemarle, North Carolina


Bucknell's chapter of Habitat for Humanity traveled to Albemarle, N.C., to help the Stanly County Habitat chapter build a home in the community.

They got to know many of the community members through working with their organization and at the church where they stayed. During the evenings they enjoyed activities such as hiking, bowling, going to a local movie theater and restaurants. The group met the future owner of the home and she was extremely grateful for their help.    

The French & Francophone Studies Spring Break Immersion Trip, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and Lafayette, Louisiana


The goal of the inaugural French & Francophone Studies trip was to interact with the French language in Louisiana by seeking authentic experiences with French speakers and with the historical presence of French in the region. The trip highlighted three very different areas of southern Louisiana: the French quarter of New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and Lafayette with the surrounding Cajun country.

Highlights of the trip included a visit to an immersion classroom at Lafayette High School where the students helped lead a discussion about the future of French and what it means to speak French as an immersion language, as well as a visit to NuNu's artist co-op in Arnaudville, La., where the students and the locals sang a bunch of Cajun songs, ate traditional Cajun food, and talked about the politics of French in Louisiana.  


Outdoor Education & Leadership Spring Break, Grand Canyon, Arizona


The leaders and students who spent their break on the Outdoor Education and Leadership (OEL) trip to the Grand Canyon prepared for the experience through twice weekly group workouts starting in January.

Once at the Grand Canyon, they split into two teams and each group spent five days backpacking inside the canyon on the popular Bright Angel, Tonto and Hermit trails, and spent their nights camping. Each team also spent one day hiking along the south rim of the canyon, visiting the information centers and learning about the history of the Grand Canyon. Participants learned technical skills, and also engaged in activities and discussions designed to build confidence and push them outside of their comfort zones, coming away with changed perspectives of themselves and the amazing things they are capable of accomplishing.  

Sandy Recovery Team, Jamaica Queens, New York


The Sandy Recovery Team was formed this year to help those affected by Super Storm Sandy. They started the experience by taking a Then and Now tour of lower Manhattan and visiting the Tenement Museum to learn more about the area before reaching their home-base for the week, First Presbyterian Church in Jamaica, Queens, N.Y. 

Along with college students from other schools, the Bucknell crew worked with Friends of Rockaway, a non-profit group that uses volunteer labor to help repair homes of families affected by the devastating 2012 storm. The team did demolition and dry walling, and learned about the effects of natural disasters like Sandy on the community members they met there.    

Selma-Ferguson Spring Break, Selma, Alabama, and Ferguson and St. Louis, Missouri


A group of students spent their break participating in two civil rights events, first in Selma, Ala., and then in Ferguson, Mo.

The group joined the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Selma-to-Montgomery March and the passing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. They joined the march over the bridge where, on March 7, 1965, six hundred unarmed civil rights activists were beaten by state troopers, an event that became known as Bloody Sunday. President Obama, former president George W Bush, and many civil rights leaders were in attendance. From there, they traveled to St. Louis to join Truth-Telling Weekend, which brought people together to talk about the underlying causes of police brutality in the United States, racism, poverty and justice, and ways to make progress towards community empowerment.