Students enjoy different options for spring trips

Lydia Tillmaand ’13 (Xenia, Ohio) experienced Bourbon Street on the eve of St. Patrick’s Day, ate New Orleans gumbo and visited the Hurricane Katrina Museum during seven days as part of an alternative spring break.

But of all the things she encountered with 12 other Marietta College students and two staff members, nothing sticks out more than taking a shower outdoors.


“It was beyond an amazing trip with an amazing group of people, and none of us could have asked for a better and more meaningful spring break,” she says.


It was arguably one of the biggest years for Marietta College students to partake in an alternative spring break — as opposed to lying on the beach in Florida. Approximately 60 students traveled to New Orleans, South Dakota, Spain or Scotland in March. Some were participating in community service, others were seeing and touching things they had learned in class, and of course, there was the Marietta volleyball team playing some meaningful competition overseas.


Tillmaand says she and her classmates had many motives for traveling to New Orleans, ranging from community service to a cultural experience.


“Although we did a lot of service and got to learn about and experience the fascinating New Orleans culture, what actually took place on a deeper level could never be summed up in a word, sentence or even a paragraph,” she says. “We got to be a part of something greater than ourselves, school, work, athletics, even this College. From the time we arrived at the Center for Ethical Living and Social Justice Renewal, throughout the week working with the service organization Beacon of Hope, we learned, engaged, formed relationships across cultural and international barriers, worked, discussed, and came away from the trip with a renewed sense of humility, thankfulness and optimism epitomized by the people of New Orleans.”


The Office of Civic Engagement organized two Alternative Spring Breaks, including one for 13 students in South Dakota.


“The Alternative Spring Break trips immersed students in new cultures and communities. Students were able to perform meaningful service while also discovering the history and social injustices experienced by the community,” says Arielle Jennings, Director of Civic Engagement. “It was wonderful to see the reciprocal impact that occurred where the students were able to give back and be a part of building a community while also growing and learning from the people they met.”


The 13 students who traveled to New Orleans were: Tiesha Anderson ’14 (Germantown, Md.), Shan Shan Chen ’13 (Shanghai, China), Sarah Griffin ’12 (Mentor, Ohio), Keenan Hamilton ’15 (Woodsfield, Ohio), Megan Hoag ’15 (Caledonia, N.Y.), Tong Zhou Luo ’15 (Beijing, China), McKenzie Mayle ’13 (Cutler, Ohio), Gustavo Rezende (Piracicaba Sao Paulo, Brazil), Myungin Seo ’15 (Seoul, South Korea), Tillmaand, Will Vance ’12 (Wilmington, Ohio), Yuanqi Yan ’12 (Beijing, China) and Chang Yu ’15 (Beijing, China). They were accompanied by Jennings and Meg McCrone ’09, AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer.


The 13 students who traveled to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota were: Maggie Behlen ’14 (Towson, Md.), Emma Burger ’14 (Mansfield, Ohio), Jessica Herron ’13 (Eastlake, Ohio), Nicole Holstein ’12 (Dunbar, W.Va.), Sean Hoover ’13 (Kent, Ohio), Emily Kennedy ’13 (New Philadelphia, Ohio), Breanna Lanier ’12 (Portage, Mich.), Sydney Maltese ’14 (Massillon, Ohio), Madison Moreno ’15 (Rochester, Mich.), Jiaxin Quan ’13 (Inner Mongolia, China), Mary Roberts ’14 (Circleville, Ohio), Allison Sells ’15 (Fleming, Ohio) and John Ste. Marie ’15 (Nashua, N.H.).


“Having the opportunity to complete a service project on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation over spring break was incredible,” Roberts says. “I was able to work on philanthropic projects within their community, as well as learn about a beautiful culture and bond with my peers in fun, inspirational environment.”


Drs. Richard Danford and Matt Young took 10 students to Spain over break as part of the Introduction to Human Geography course. It allowed them to see first-hand what they had been discussing in class.


“The backgrounds of the students involved covered a wide spectrum,” Young says. “Some had advanced language skills and considerable travel experience, some had no Spanish and had never been abroad before. This was also a ‘first’ in the sense that our group included three Chinese students.”


The students — Katie Chalfant ’13 (Columbus, Ohio), Sofia Danford ’16 (Marietta, Ohio), Rachael Lyles ’12 (Gallipolis, Ohio), Mao Yangyang ’14 (Beijing, China), Beth Modesitt ’15 (Parkersburg, W.Va.), Casey Smith ’12 (Marietta, Ohio), Danielle Stein ’12 (Dublin, Ohio), Wu Yunga ’14 (Inner Mongolia, China) and Yang Guannan ’14 (Beijing, China) — spent most of the trip in Madrid, but also made daytrips to Toledo, Segovia and Cordoba. They were also joined by former faculty member Fraser MacHaffie, who is auditing the course.


“One of the highlights of the trip was something that Richard worked out right before we left the U.S. — the trip to Cordoba included a visit to the cathedral there, which had originally been a mosque before the Reconquest in the 15th century,” Young says. “The site has become central to ongoing debates about the rights of the growing Muslim population in the country — Is it a mosque? A cathedral? Can it be somehow both at the same time? We had read about and discussed this controversy in class, and so visiting the place and seeing it first-hand added to our understanding of the issue.”


Stein says the experience exceeded her expectations.


“Dr. Danford did a great job of fitting all these locations and educational trips into one week. I cannot thank Dr. Young and Dr. Danford enough for making this trip a success,” she says. “I learned so much about the Spanish culture and more about the Spanish Civil War in detail. If this class is offered again, I highly suggest that more students participate because it was such a wonderful learning experience both culturally and academically."


Stein also enjoyed the opportunity to connect with the Marietta volleyball team, who was playing teams from Spain during Spring Break.


“During one of our free nights, we were able to ride the metro to watch the Marietta College volleyball team play against Legané, a professional team,” Stein says. “This was extremely exciting for me because some of my good friends are on the volleyball team. After the game ended, we were able to talk to both teams in a social atmosphere. This gave us the opportunity to ask them questions about their daily lives and learn more about the Spanish culture.”


Dr. Bob Chase, Chair of the Edwy R. Brown Department of Petroleum Engineering and Geology, led a group of eight students to Scotland for the week. They traveled all of Scotland from Edinburgh to St. Andrews and on to Aberdeen. They also drove through the Scottish highlands to Inverness and then concluded the trip in Glasgow.


“In Aberdeen we visited the offices of Halliburton Services and toured their facilities,” Chase says. “From there we went to the offices of ConocoPhillips where we had an excellent presentation on the development of new gas fields in the southern North Sea.”


Aaron Kurtz ’13 (New Philadelphia, Ohio) was glad he took advantage of the short study abroad experience.


“Experiencing Scotland has been a once in a lifetime opportunity that I will always remember. We were able to visit historic cities and sites, experience traditional Scottish cuisine (like haggis), and learn about the history and culture from all four corners of Scotland,” Kurtz says. “As a petroleum engineering student, I also had the privilege to visit ConocoPhillips and Halliburton operations and learn about their North Sea Operations. This trip had everything; both educational and fun.”


The other students in Scotland were Tommy Chase ’12 (Marietta, Ohio), Jared Lint ’13 (Greensburg, Pa.), Stacy McCutcheon ’12 (Fleming, Ohio), Michael Paulus ’12 (Woodsfield, Ohio), Cally Lee ’12 (Vanlue, Ohio), Alisha Dunn ’14 (Doylestown, Ohio) and Sarah Gallahan ’14 (Peru, Ind.).