Students seeking an alternative Spring Break this year can choose from joining the fight for food justice, learning the importance of education in the Richmond area or engaging in service projects in marginalized communities. 

The Bonner Center for Civic Engagement paired up with Common Ground and The SEEDS Project, and held an informative session on alternative plans for Spring Break on Wednesday in the Think Tank of the Tyler Haynes Commons.

“We believe that part of our work is to connect students with the city of Richmond,” said Adrienne Piazza, manager for educational initiatives and leadership development at the CCE. “Fall Break is about exploring the city, and Spring Break is issue-focused and based in Richmond,” she said.

Piazza is in charge of the CCE’s Spring Break in Richmond: Education. Students who choose this option will take part in explaining to locals the importance of education in their community.

The group of approximately 10 students will work with some of Richmond’s youth, learn from first-hand sources how schools work in the area and get involved in the process, Piazza said. It is also an opportunity to explore Richmond and enjoy some local dining. “Education” is an on/off campus program, since students will spend the day off campus but will stay in their dorms. There is no cost, and applications are due Nov. 14.

Food Justice in Richmond is a alternative plan organized by Common Ground for the second year.

“Common Ground thinks about issues of equity and justice and community, usually on campus,” said Lisa Miles, associate director at Common Ground. “We realized that we wanted to find some structural way that would help us and students to explore that in certain realities in a society.”

The focus of Food Justice is engaging students in the issues and problems of food in the community. They will spend a lot of time in marginalized areas in eastern Richmond, local farms and non-profits, exploring the access to healthy food in the community, Miles said.

She also said students would interact with many organizations, government agencies and citizens, as well as spend two days at a food producer.

This alternative plan is also free, and students will stay on campus. Applications are due Jan. 24.

Engaging students in service projects in marginalized communities is the focus of the SEEDS alternative Spring Break. There are two destinations to choose from: West Virginia and Louisiana. In both places, students will engage through manual labor and live with members of the communities, while learning a new meaning of service.

As explained by Taylor Holden, president of SEEDS, the student organization wanted to develop a new way to interact with communities that was not limited to “doing the work and leaving,” but was based on communication and continuous interaction.

The cost of this alternative plan has yet to be determined, but is estimated to be around $100, according to Holden. Applications are due Nov. 7.

Contact reporter Antonio DeMora at antonio.demora@richmond.edu