BOULDER, Colo. –

About 85 University of Colorado students will spend this week volunteering for spring break — rebuilding homes ravaged by Hurricane Katrina, doing conservation work on Catalina Island and spreading awareness about HIV and AIDS.

The students, who travel in groups, are participating in “Alternative Breaks” organized by the Boulder campus’s volunteer center. Leading up to the break, the students get to know one another, discuss issues they’ll work on, train for the volunteer work and raise money, making the trips a semester-long commitment, said Sara Jelley, a leader of one of this year’s outings.

Jelley, who has participated in two previous spring break service trips, is in San Francisco this week working on a project to create awareness about HIV and AIDS.

Student volunteers are also working on issues of hunger and homelessness in Cincinnati; teaching children in the San Jose area about nature and the environment; and doing trail maintenance in the Cherokee National Forest in Tennessee.

Jelley took her first Alternative Break trip two years ago to volunteer at a camp in Minnesota called One Heartland, geared toward children who have been or are affected by HIV/AIDS.

“I still remember the five days of that trip more vividly than most of my time at CU,” Jelley said. “I really felt that we made a difference for the camp, but most of all I felt that we made a difference in ourselves.”

Students over the shorter fall breaks have volunteered around the state, working with the homeless and at soup kitchens.

Organizers say the program allow students to learn about the problems faced by members of communities with whom they may otherwise have had little or no direct contact.

Contact Camera Staff Writer Brittany Anas at 303-473-1132 or

Archived comments

Great article. Nice contrast to the “Frat-boy fight” type stuff. Way to go Buffs. Keep up the good work.

3/24/2009 7:51:42 AM

That’s great.The university should be proud.Here in Florida, the local news at Panama City revealed that a student had fallen off a hotel while partying at spring break.The guy had been drinking heavily and lost control of his vestibular system.But at least these CU students are volunteering rather than partying wild.


3/24/2009 9:35:53 PM

Any CU students in New Orleans helping in the rebuilding efforts, hollar back on this wall. I’m a CU student back home in New Orleans on Spring Break.


3/24/2009 11:19:36 PM