Outreach Break Trips
What is an Outreach Trip?
Outreach Trips place groups of students and staff in domestic and international settings during Fall, Winter, and Spring Breaks for experiential learning and service in community. These trips aim to strengthen the University's relationships beyond the Mountain, and offer students a greater understanding of the world around them. For over 20 years, a broad and affordable set of opportunities has been offered to students.
Where do we go?
There are several trips offered throughout the academic year over Fall Break, Winter Break, and Spring Break. Students can apply for Spring 2018 trips here.
Costa Rica: Community and Environmental Education
The Costa Rica Outreach Trip visits the Cloud Forest School in Monteverde, Costa Rica. Students partner with the school to help maintain the ecological biodiversity of its campus, as well as provide a comprehensive educational experience to its students. These direct engagement components are coupled with the unique experience of staying in homestays with families from the Cloud Forest School. By living and working with these families, students are able to cultivate powerful relationships the Cloud Forest School community. Meant for engagement, exploration, and immersion, the Costa Rica Outreach trip provides powerful and life-lasting experiences for everyone involved.
Trip Leader: Kayla Deep
Ecuador: Fellowship and Ministry
In Quito, students of all faith backgrounds will explore fellowship and ministry through a Latin American lens. Our site host, Cameron Graham, is a Sewanee alumna who has served as a missionary in Ecuador for the last 10 years and continues to partner with our host organization, Youth World, a Christian organization whose emphasis is training youth ministry leaders and working to reach out to youth in Quito.. The Ecuador Experience consists of working with one of Youth World's partner sites, "Remanso de Amor" which serves as a school, community center, and church in one of the communities in Quito. Sewanee has been sending volunteers to work with Remanso for the last 10 years and has watched it grow from an empty pasture to a 5-story building that is flourishing. Recent trips included minor construction projects, skits and crafts with kids, and youth workshops. Every evening there is a time for group reflection and discussion. The Ecuador trip is Christian in nature, but participants are encouraged to process the experience through their own personal lens as they investigate the meanings and purposes of mainstream religion in a Latin American context.
Trip Leader: Andrea Del Balso
Jamaica: Dynamics of Development and Documentation
Students participating in the Jamaica Outreach Trip will explore the intersection of arts tourism and community development in Kingston's Trench Town neighborhood. Sewanee students will collaborate in ongoing projects in Trench Town's Culture Yard, including a large mural with artists from the U.S. and Jamaica. This trip will also examine the connection between Jamaica’s political history and the formation of its original music genres from Trench Town, the epicenter of reggae. Preparation will begin in the fall with work in online media for the Culture Yard. Guided by staff boasting decades of experience and knowledge of the area, the Jamaica Outreach Trip promises the experience of a lifetime.
This is the Office of Civic Engagement's twenty-eighth year traveling to Kingston, Jamaica.
Trip Leader: Dixon Myers
Haiti: Sustainable International Development
Sewanee's partnerships in Cange, Haiti with Zanmi Agrikol (ZA), a Haitian agricultural NGO, and sister organization to Zanmi Lasante (ZL, Partners in Health) have helped create opportunities for our faculty, staff and students to participate in long-term development work and important relief efforts. This trip will expose students to our agricultural re-forestation project and our photo project. This opportunity can lead to advanced work in the country through various programs under the direction of the Haiti Institute in Sewanee (HIS).
Trip Leaders: Dixon Myers, Professor Deborah McGrath, and Professor Pradip Malde
Miami: Education in America
Over Sewanee’s 20 year history working in Miami, the Miami Outreach Experience has grown to center around classroom tutoring at the secondary level in a local public school, contrasted by days spent in the non-traditional education environment of "Shake-a-Leg," an outdoor program for children and adults living with physical, developmental, and economic challenges. These, in addition to supplemental service experiences which have included working for Habitat for Humanity and in local nursing homes, offer students the opportunity to engage with and critically analyze education in the United States. When they are not participating in direct service, students have the opportunity to spend their free time exploring Miami and nearby South Beach.
Trip Leader: Barbara Banks
New Orleans: Race and Recovery
The University of the South has more than a 20-year history of engagement in New Orleans. During this Spring Break Experience, students will work closely with lowernine.org. lowernine.org is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the long-term recovery of the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, Louisiana in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and the levee breaches of 2005. Additionally, participants will work with Jericho Road – a neighborhood-based nonprofit homebuilder that provides families with healthy and energy-efficient affordable housing opportunities. Participants will visit and celebrate the House of Dance and Feathers, visit the Whitney Plantation, participate in direct service through construction work in the Lower Ninth Ward and Central City, and much more. All of this while experiencing the cultural experience that is New Orleans. Through this trip, students will gain a broader perspective on how Hurricane Katrina impacted and continues to impact the area, in addition to understanding how the Civil Rights Movement, #blacklivesmatter, and Beyonce's Lemonade intersect
Trip Leader: Tyler Augst
New York City: Intersections of Identity and Food Security
Since a student-initiated response to the HIV/Aids epidemic in 1995, Sewanee has participated in yearly short term service trips to New York City in an effort to understand HIV/Aids and offer help to those suffering from the disease. Today, the students on this trip continue to learn about the HIV/AIDS epidemic while unraveling the intersections of factors like health, identity, and politics that might prevent someone from getting a meal.
Students will work with two well established non-profit organizations in New York City: Gay Men’s Health Crisis Center (GMHC) and God’s Love We Deliver. With both of these organizations, students engage in direct service as they make, deliver, and serve food to diverse populations all over the city’s different neighborhoods and boroughs. The New York City Outreach Experience urges students to explore, offering time to experience life in the city and take advantage of its innumerable cultural opportunities.
Trip Leader: Forbes Mann
Grundy County, Tennessee
Students who want to spend an abbreviated Spring Break (Thursday, March 15 - Wednesday, March 21) in a local setting have the opportunity to work with Mountain T.O.P. (Tennessee Outreach Project) located at Cumberland Heights in Grundy County, Tennessee - just forty-five minutes from the Sewanee campus. In addition to direct service, students will explore the plateau, gain insight into Appalachian culture, and study the history of University's presence in the region.
The social fabric of the plateau is enriched by reciprocal relationships fostered between numerous community development programs. Participants will reflect on local perceptions of "us" and "them," and work to address stereotypes by engaging in the community development process.
Trip Leader: Nicky Hamilton
How much does it cost?
Trips cost anywhere from $150 - $2000. Need-based financial aid is available for most trips. The total cost includes all travel, accommodation, and food expenses. Student fees are supplemented with year-to-year fundraising after payment commitments are made. A student's financial need does not determine participation, and everyone is encouraged to apply.
Who is eligible to participate?
If you are a current student, you are eligible. If you have already participated in an Outreach Trip, consider applying for a different location. Interviews, previous service experience, and class year determine selection for trips. Leadership positions are available for students interested in repeating a trip.
What is the commitment?
Attendance at weekly meetings during the month(s) leading up to your trip is mandatory. All Outreach Trip participants are required to take part in a letter writing campaign to solicit donations, as well as participate in their trip's fundraising initiatives. Some trips integrate pre-trip advanced project development work.