Hundreds of Hawkeye students choose unconventional spring break

Each student traveling receives a t-shirt, which boldly displays they are part of this Hawkeye Service Teams event.

The Corridor may be a bit emptier this week.

With many schools on spring break, much of the collegiate student population in Iowa City is migrating south for a week of sun-filled festivities.

Of the more than 33,000 University of Iowa students, nearly 200 are electing for another spring break option -- service work.

The University of Iowa's Hawkeye Service Teams is offering students the opportunity to participate in Alternative Spring Break, a program devoted to service learning, social justice, and creating community partnerships.

The Hawkeye Service Teams departed on March 11, with 12 teams going to 12 different locations.

Each group is part of a theme-focused class.

For example, the students traveling to Milwaukee are involved in a course related to housing and equity. The focus of their trip -- Housing and Economic Disparity.

Many of the trips are sponsored, minimizing student expenses and offering a cheaper alternative to the traditional spring break experience.

"I just wanted the experience," said sophomore nursing major Jennifer Hood. "It's just something new and not your typical spring break."

Senior Braxton Zodalz said he's a little bummed he won't be spending time with his friends in Fort Lauderdale, but remained optimistic.

"As a senior, I'm growing up, so I've got to get to real life," said Zodalz. "Sometimes, you've got to make sacrifices."

Others, like senior Claire Castaneda, doesn't view this week as a sacrifice, but a productive experience.

As a third-time participant in the program (and a second-time student leader, meaning she takes on a bulk of the planning), Castaneda said the trips are fulfilling.

"I came back to [Hawkeye Service Teams] because this is one of those programs that I just always felt at home with it," said Castaneda. "I really agreed with the mission of the Hawkeye Service Teams."

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