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Students examine rural poverty, sustainability over Fall Break

Twenty-two Elon University students spent Fall Break on service trips to rural areas of North Carolina.

Students on the Fall Break service trip to the Turtle Island Preserve in Boone, N.C.


Twenty-two Elon University students spent Oct. 12-15 participating in service trips to rural areas of North Carolina where they were exposed to the elements of nature through community service.

The Kernodle Center for Service Learning and Community Engagement sponsored two trips through its Alternative Breaks program that examined environmental issues at Turtle Island Preserve and rural poverty in the Appalachian Mountains.

On the Turtle Island trip, participants were introduced to sustainable living at an environmental preserve and education center located near Boone, N.C. The site challenges visitors to distance themselves from modern conveniences, with no electricity or plumbing, by living strictly off the land. Participants worked outside all day, harvested their own food, prepared firewood and took care of livestock.

From left: Elon students Melanie Hebert, Katharine Umbdenstock and Lea Abel at Turtle Island.

The Appalachian Mountain service trip enabled students to learn about rural poverty and environmental issues in western North Carolina. Participants assisted in building a house with Habitat for Humanity and explored Asheville, N.C. Student trip leaders also coordinated activities in the local community that provided students with unique service-learning projects.

Organizers said domestic service trips help students gain a renewed appreciation for the natural world and a better understanding of pressing social issues in North Carolina.

“The friendships and positive attitudes that were cultivated throughout the trip inspired everyone to keep working hard during the day and to have meaningful and thoughtful reflections as we talked about our service at night around the campfire,” said Turtle Island trip coordinator Lauren Hoerr.

The trips are two of 10 domestic and international service trips offered throughout the year to Elon students through the Kernodle Center.

For more information on these or other service trips, or for general information on how to serve in local communities, contact Evan Small at esmall@elon.edu or call 336-278-7250.

Eric Townsend,
10/23/2012 9:21 AM