Students pay it forward during spring break

Bradley students built wheelchair ramps in Nashville last week as part of the Alternative Spring Break program.
photo via Alicia Petramale

While many Bradley students spent their spring break soaking up the sun on a Florida beach, relaxing on a Caribbean cruise or kicking back with the family, one group of 12 students sacrificed their week of rest for a greater cause.

For the past two years, students have been taking part in Alternative Winter and Spring Break trips to spend a week doing service projects in various U.S. cities.

“An Alternative Spring Break or Winter Break … provides students with an opportunity to enact social change in various cities around the country,” Jessica Chandler, coordinator of the trips, said.

Chandler was responsible for the introduction of alternative breaks at Bradley.

“I participated in a couple alternative break programs while I was an undergraduate student,” Chandler said. “I know the feeling of inspiration that comes from such service work in communities other than your own, so it was suiting that I would try to pass on the experience to those here at Bradley.”

Junior sociology major Alicia Petramale said she is no stranger to such trips, as last week marked her third alternative break experience.

“I get something different out of every trip, so each visit is uniquely rewarding,” Petramale said. “Last week we built wheel chair ramps for those with disabilities such as cerebral palsy.”

Students who took the trip said their feelings of gratification have been permanently imprinted in their minds due to the reactions of those who have been impacted by the group’s acts of kindness.

“An 11-year-old boy was able to leave his house by himself for the first time in his life, an elderly woman was able to leave her house for the first time in three years, and two others were able to get out of their homes easier and safer all because of the work that we were able to do while we were there,” Petramale said. “I honestly could not think of a more rewarding or worthwhile way to spend my break.”

Petramale said her favorite memory from the trip was when she saw a video of the 11-year-old boy using the wheelchair ramp she and her teammates had built.

“The joy that spread across his face was enough to bring me to tears, and that is what it is all about: Leaving the community having made an impact in the hearts and lives of the people in it,” Petramale said.

Due to popular demand, an alternative break during spring semester was introduced this year for the first time, according to Jessica Chandler.

“We have room in both our Winter and, now Spring, Alternative Breaks,” Chandler said. “We hope to gain a larger community of students who are willing to focus their time off into impacting lives around the country.”

More from News

If you want to go far, go together

Bradley’s 41st McCord lecture offered students, alumni and community members an opportunity to hear about the experiences of a Bradley alumna who achieved her dream job. For the past six years, Michele Sullivan has been Caterpillar Inc.’s director of Corporate … read more

Get to know the Student Body Officer candidates

President: Dave Jensen Year: Junior Major: Management and leadership Main goal: “Some of my main goals include increasing event partnership between our student organizations, increasing sexual assault awareness — not just during the month of April — and focusing on … read more

Art gallery brings the world together

Although it may be a hidden gem to students on campus, Bradley’s 36th Annual International Print and Drawing Exhibition is anything but secret to the artists and galleries involved. Held every other year, the exhibition is the second-longest running print … read more

Brief: Greeks to showcase dancing abilities

Bradley’s annual Greek Week will come to a close at 6 p.m. March 26 in Renaissance Coliseum as the greek community participates in PanFraSing. Greek organizations have been divided into teams, and they will face off against one another in … read more

Brief: Insurance industry leaders discuss opportunities

Insurance industry professionals from Northeastern Indiana will be on campus at 5:30 p.m. March 30 in Baker Hall room 252. The industry leaders will discuss various insurance opportunities available to Bradley students in the Northeastern Indiana region. Students interested in … read more