St. Edward's University students plunge into homelessness
While millions of college students across the country will spend the upcoming Spring Break holiday relaxing on the beach, some St. Edward's University students will trade their swimsuits and sunscreen for the streets of downtown Austin.
One of five service-based Alternative Spring Break programs sponsored by Campus Ministry, Urban Plunge immerses students into homelessness. For five days and four nights, about six students will spend their days on the streets, eating meals in shelters and meeting at night to sleep as a group in a downtown church. Students will hit the streets in pairs with a designated mentor from the homeless community and only will be allowed to carry a $5 daily allowance.
"The purpose of Alternative Spring Break is to allow students to put a personal face on people who are poor, struggling and possibly homeless," said Anna Aldave, associate director of Campus Ministry. "We want students to get to know the poor as people and friends, not as social problems to be solved.
"Other groups of students will be dispatched to New York City, Perryville, Ark., Colorado Springs, Colo., and Monterrey, Mexico, where they will volunteer at facilities run by the Congregation of Holy Cross.
- Who: St. Edward's University students
- What: Urban Plunge
- When: Sunday, March 14 through Thursday, March 18
- Where: Most of the days will be unstructured, but we can set up press access if we are notified in advance. Students will sleep at Central Presbyterian Church (East Eighth and Brazos Streets) and will leave the church at 5 each morning, returning around 7 each night.