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Community Engagement

Pacificans’ alternative spring breaks spread purposeful work

Apr 2, 2018

Memories of this year's spring break may be fading, but the purposeful work by Pacific students, faculty and staff - cleaning up beaches, feeding the homeless, building a Habitat for Humanity home and spreading global diplomacy - will benefit others for years to come.

Traveling abroad and to the far reaches of the state, members of at least three Pacific groups toiled their way to becoming better global citizens. Pacific's Model United Nations team traveled to Panama City for the Harvard World Model United Nations (WorldMUN) conference, and the Brubeck Fellows traveled to Paraguay, where they helped build a Habitat for Humanity home for a family and honored jazz great Dave Brubeck by spreading diplomacy through music.

"We're going to leave knowing we've helped this family," Patrick Langham, interim director of the Brubeck Institute and director of Pacific's jazz program, said before leaving for Paraguay. "We're going to leave knowing we're leaving something solid behind."

Closer to home, 10 Pacific students and two staff members from Religious and Spiritual Life traveled to San Diego for a week of community service. The "Alternative Breaks" trip was facilitated by the Sacramento-based Christian nonprofit Sierra Service Project (SSP), which organizes mission experiences for high schoolers, middle schoolers and young adults.

"Students on Alternative Breaks can learn from others and build communities, which makes it quite different than the typical beach party spring break," said Laura Steed, Pacific's associate multifaith chaplain, who also serves on the SSP Board of Directors. "SSP is a Christian-based group, but students of all faiths or non-faith backgrounds are invited to this diverse experience."

Steed sought and received two grants - one from the Pacific Parent Fund and the other from the Cal-Nevada United Methodist Conference - so that students paid only $75 to join the Alternative Break trip, not the typical $285.

Pacific's Religious and Spiritual Life used Facebook to share their experiences and photos. The first day in San Diego, students attended the Border Church, a weekly service connecting families and friends on both sides of the border. At dinner, they met Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina. On the second day, they cleaned a recreation center and fed the homeless at Father Joe's Village. Later in the week, the group went to the Tijuana estuary to help plant sage and milkweed, learn about marine conservation, pick up trash along a beach, and paint a senior center.

Emilie Jenkins '21 created a video of the experience.



Pacific's Model United Nation's team of eight School of International Studies students also brought new meaning to Spring Break. They represented Tajikistan as they debated and simulated the work of diplomats at the internationally diverse college-level Model United Nations Conference, the largest such conference outside the United States and Canada.

"It is a global exchange and experience that aims to help delegates grow as individuals and engage in the world around them," the School of International Studies included in its announcement inviting students to participate. The team was coached by Howard Moseley '89 SIS, '96 LAW.

SIS students compete at Model UN

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