USF students use alternative spring break to help others

Tampa, Fla. (March 4, 2008) – University of South Florida students will travel throughout the U.S. and to Costa Rica to help with humanitarian efforts during spring break. At a time when college students historically head to the beach to blow off steam or simply relax, 200 students from USF will go to 19 different locations including Tennessee, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Alabama, Washington, Boston, New Orleans, New York City, Chicago and the Everglades to provide community services.

Projects were given colorful names but, the work involved is rigorous and requires dedication, compassion, perseverance and sacrifice to achieve each trip’s mission. A few of the alternative spring break trips include:

General Hospital LeBonheur Children's Medical Center - Memphis, Tennessee. LeBonheur provides specialized medical services and care to children from 95 counties throughout six states. Volunteers will be assisting LeBonheur by playing with children in designated play rooms, rocking children that need comfort and sitting with children to give parents a short respite. For more information visit

The Real OC AIDS Project LA - Los Angeles, California. Los Angeles County is the most populous county in the nation with the second highest number of individuals infected or affected by HIV/AIDS in the U.S. (between 54,000 to 57,000 people are estimated to be living with HIV/AIDS in Los Angeles County). Volunteers will be working in a local food bank and participating in various activities for the organization. For more information visit Cribs: Hotlanta Edition! Project Extend at Wesley Community Centers - Atlanta, Georgia. Volunteers for Project Extend will fix and repair houses for senior citizens throughout Atlanta. For more information visit

Bulls in the Bayou Catholic Charities - New Orleans, Louisiana. Catholic Charities is helping those affected by Hurricane Katrina by assisting with a variety of service projects. For more information visit

I Say Tomato, You Say Tomatoe Centro Campesino Farmworker Center - Florida City, Florida. Volunteers will help make a difference by building affordable housing for migrant farm workers and tutoring the children of farm workers at an after-school program. For more information visit

Real World: On the Streets of DC Community for Creative Non-Violence - Washington, D.C. Volunteers will help individuals at the nation’s largest homeless shelter which assists approximately 1350 residents. For more information visit

School House ROCKS! Tara Hall Home for Boys - Georgetown, South Carolina. Volunteers will help tutor children and participate in fun activities with boys ages six to 12 in Tara Hall Home. These boys have been abused or abandoned and stay at the residential site for up to two years. For more information visit

Students paid fees between $150 to $400 to cover travel, lodging and food. When students return to USF they will meet on March 27 at 5:00 in the Marshall Center Ballroom to share their stories and talk about their experiences.

For more information on the alternative spring break trips or about student volunteerism at USF, contact Amy Simon at (813) 974-5317.

The University of South Florida is among the nation's top 63 public research universities and one of 39 community engaged public universities as designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. It is one of Florida's top three research universities. USF was awarded more than $300 million in research contracts and grants last year. The University offers 219 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, specialist and doctoral levels, including the doctor of medicine. The University has a $1.8 billion annual budget, an annual economic impact of $3.2 billion, and serves more than 45,000 students on campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Lakeland. USF is a member of the Big East Athletic Conference.