Students spend their spring breaks building communities, traveling, more


Courtesy: James Shields

First-year Bonner Scholars learn about the history and culture of the Gullah/Geechee tribe as they listen to Queen Quet. They engaged in volunteer service at the Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition, South Carolina this past spring break. // Photo courtesy of James Shields.

Sleep, service and sightseeing. There are no better words to describe Guilford College’s spring break.

With 2017 in full swing and the spring semester halfway completed, Guilford students took full advantage of their weeklong spring break, participating in a variety of independent and school-sponsored trips, activities and projects. For some, spring break was an opportunity for relaxation or just visiting friends and family.

“I binge-watched ‘Bates Motel,’ and I finished it in three days,” said first-year and psychology major Toni Santos. “I also spent time with my mom … and my little brother in Atlanta.”

Other students had similar break experiences and took advantage of the time off to head home.

“I went back home to Chicago, so that was fun,” said Mara Stewart, a junior and health science and sociology and anthropology major.

“I didn’t do the whole college spring break. I just wanted to be home.”

Besides getting caught up on rest, Stewart made another exciting change.

“I went to St. Baldrick’s, and I shaved off all my hair, so this is my bald head. So that was kind of my big hurrah,” she said.

Students such as Leah Whetten-Goldstein, senior and philosophy and peace and conflict studies major decided to take a trip over the break.

Whetten-Goldstein will be attending law school this fall and visited multiple schools that she has been accepted to, such as the University of San Francisco School of Law, the City University of New York School of Law and Brooklyn Law School.

“I flew around the country to look at law schools,” said Whetten-Goldstein. “It is really important to use (the time during spring break) so that is what I did.”

Although different from Whetten-Goldstein’s trip, service trips were prominent in the College’s break itinerary.

Frank Massey, a part-time religious studies instructor, campus ministry coordinator and pastoral minister at Jamestown Friends Meeting, helped to coordinate a service trip to Virginia where students helped to build a house following a natural disaster.

“(For) fall break and spring break, we were in Evergreen, Virginia,” said Massey. “There was a tornado that came through there two years ago and took out about 200 homes.”

Massey talked about the progress that Guilford students and other volunteers made on the house.

“When we arrived, it was just the frame up,” said Massey. “And by the time we left, we had the roof on, shingles on and the house was completely covered.”

Miyu Higashimura is one of the Guilford students who went on the trip.

“The experience that I had … was really eye-opening,” said Higashimura, a junior and women’s gender and sexuality studies major. “I’m really interested in helping people who suffered from (a) natural disaster, so that’s why I decided to join.”

The first-year Bonner Scholars at Guilford that traveled to South Carolina also helped with natural disaster relief. Jacquelyn Sullivan, a first-year Bonner Scholar representative and political science major, was one of the students on the trip.

“Every year the first-year Bonners go to South Carolina to an island called Saint Helena, and we learn about the Gullah/Geechee culture,” said Sullivan. “Our primary reason for going was there was a lot of damage from the hurricane, and we were going to help out with that. Do some clean up.

“It was a bit of a bonding experience for us.”

Through the Bonner trip to South Carolina and the trip Frank Massey led in Virginia, Guilford’s spring break seemed to have a service emphasis that promoted learning about other cultures and people. But even if students did not complete service projects, they were able to learn about themselves and their interests.

And now with the break over, Guilford students have come back to campus for more conventional learning opportunities.

“(I’m) very happy to be back,” said Whetten-Goldstein. “I like Guilford. It’s my home.”