Tarleton students return to Panama City Beach, Florida for Alternative Spring Break

Photo courtesy of Alternative Spring Break
31 Tarleton Texans traveled to Panama City Beach, FL over Spring Break 2019 to assist with Hurricane Michael relief efforts. The group spent their last day in New Orleans, LA to see how a city can recover after a hurricane.

This spring break, Tarleton students will travel back to Panama City Beach, FL, to aid in clean-up efforts from a string of small natural disaster events over the past year.

Many college students plan fun, party filled spring break trips, while an elite group of service-driven students at Tarleton plan to attend Alternative Spring Break (ASB) to aid those in need.

The presence of Leadership and Service on Tarleton’s campus is much more than just simple core values, and the students of ASB make that evident. During last year’s spring break Tarleton students aided Panama City Beach in relief efforts after Hurricane Michael, from which the town never fully recovered before being hit with new storms. Alternative Spring Break Student Coordinator, Marcus Woods said, “they still need our help, and we will go.”

The purpose of ASB is noble, and a testament to the heart of Tarleton. “It is an opportunity for student leaders to give back to areas that have been struck by natural disasters,” Woods said. Currently, there are 34 students and two graduate students signed up to participate in ASB this year.

For many, this will be a trip of gaining skills and growth. Students will learn to “operate power tools and common construction equipment used for rebuilding structures effected by the hurricanes,” Woods said.

Service is the main focus of the trip, but students will also learn how to partner with others in a trans-formative experience that encompasses the bigger picture of life.

This year’s trip will be five days long. The students will travel to Panama City Beach, work on “their service projects on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, have a free day on Wednesday, and then travel back to Stephenville,” Woods said.

Students can expect to complete tasks such as picking up trash and storm debris, hanging up dry wall, installing shingles, and learning the basic use of power tools which can be applied later in life.

For students, it’s five days of life skills, memories, and new experiences near or on the beach, for just $150. There is no where else you could go, all-inclusive for five days, at only $150 while also serving others.

Woods is a senior this year, and this trip will serve as his last mark on Tarleton. He would like to see other students become leaders and people who are willing to step out of their comfort zones to help others.

Many people call themselves leaders, but “the difference is the ones who are willing to step up and put in work for others. I want to be one of those people,” Woods said.

Growth and transformation of people and communities are Woods’ main goals for this year’s trip. Next time you’re planning a trip to South Padre to do all the crazy things college students do, stop and consider how, you could impact your life as well as the lives of others.