Students Spend Spring Break Learning and Serving

Several Nebraska Wesleyan University students are foregoing a relaxing spring break to volunteer their services and immerse themselves in unfamiliar cultures.

During Nebraska Wesleyan’s spring break — which begins Monday, March 15 — two student groups will turn their attention to service learning. One group will head to Washington, D.C. for the annual “Give Me Your Hand” service trip while another group will travel to Chicago for a cultural urban immersion experience.

“Give Me Your Hand encourages people to put aside any theological or religious differences and advocate for societal change through service together,” said University Minister Rev. Pauletta Lehn.

Students will strengthen their sense of global citizenship and religious cultural competencies through charitable and justice-oriented service projects, a three-day social justice seminar and through community-building activities. Upon their return, students will complete a local service project and share their experience at a post-trip presentation.

Students participating in the Chicago immersion will begin their experience with a train ride from Lincoln to Chicago. In addition to touring cultural sites like the Chicago Cultural Center and Chinatown, students will collaborate with Howard University and St. Sabina Church on a gun violence and prevention project. Chicago Urban Immersion student coordinator Hannah Hopson said the group will likely gather signatures through a petition campaign and meet with local politicians regarding gun safety and violence awareness. Nebraska Wesleyan students will also volunteer at Casa Center, Chicago’s largest Hispanic social service agency. There they will help with the after-school program.

Hopson said the experience is a true cultural immersion that oftentimes challenges participants. At the Downtown Islamic Center, for example, the students will change into traditional Islamic attire and wear it on their flight home to Lincoln. It’s an opportunity for students to walk in someone else’s shoes, said Hopson.

“The visit to Chicago will truly keep our students on the right path to developing their own identity and opinions as well as teach them lessons in giving back,” she said.

Finally, theatre students will travel to London over spring break to learn more about Shakespeare. They will visit the British Library where they will see Leonardo daVinci’s notebooks and early manuscripts of Beowulf and The Canterbury Tales. They will visit Stratford-Upon-Avon, attend a performance of Romeo and Juliet, see original sites of Shakespeare’s theatres and participate in workshops.

Classes resume at Nebraska Wesleyan on March 22.

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