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Trips that transform: A look at alternative spring break immersions

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At Rollins, the Immersion Program offers opportunities for meaningful spring break trips that have the power to transform students and communities. Immersions offer students the chance to travel to different places with their peers to impact the world with community service.  

Alternative Spring Breaks take this to a more intensive level, occurring over 5-8 days, as opposed to the usual weekend excursion. One of the Immersions, “A Racial Legacy in Action,” which took place this March, brought Rollins students to the nation’s capital for 7 days and 6 nights.  

Led by Dr. Marjorie Trueblood, Dean of the Center for Inclusion and Belonging, this trip first took place two years ago, sparked by students’ interest in visiting the National Museum of African American History and Culture. It was offered again this year with an added emphasis on food insecurity and apartheid. 

One highlight for Dr. Trueblood was seeing students work diligently at an event where they helped provide hundreds of people with access to healthy food at Martha’s Table over three days. Martha’s Table is a non-profit organization that strives to increase “access to quality education, health and wellness, and family resources” as a means of supporting “strong children, strong families, and strong communities.” 

Dr. Trueblood proudly reported that “the energy and love that our students brought was amazing, and even the site leaders talked about how exceptional we were.” She explained that the aim of the D.C. Immersion was to encourage students to “grapple with the racial history of our country, recognize the ways people have pursued racial justice through time, and consider ways to extend that legacy for positive change.”  

Many students who attended the trip were ecstatic to have this opportunity and expressed gratitude for the impact it had on their worldview. One of these students, social entrepreneurship major, Rian Massaro (‘26), explained that in D.C. he had the chance to “interact with the community of Washington, D.C. and hear from them on an individual level.” He said, “I had the opportunity to help assist those who are struggling and befriend them. These people have suffered and continue to, but none of them have lost the value of community.” 

“The youth must recognize the impact of race on our society collectively and not only focus on what has and has not worked, but what has yet to be done. We have to use our voices together and make a difference to ensure quality of life for every individual in the world,” added Massaro when reflecting on the experience.  

As described on the Rollins website, the Vision of the Immersion Program is “to create leaders who are prepared for the big challenges and questions that face communities in the 21st Century.” With Alternative Spring Breaks like the D.C. trip, the program fervently pursues that mission every year.  

“It provides opportunities for us to be the change we wish to see in the world,” said Dr. Trueblood. “Additionally, these opportunities help us learn even more about ourselves and the power dynamics between us.”  

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