Tucker funds exotic spring breaks

by Alexandra Friedman | 1/8/02 6:00am

Spend spring break in Costa Rica, Florida, Jamaica or some other sunny locale -- the College will even help you pay for it. Through the Tucker Foundation, eligible students can make this scenario a reality, as long as they're willing to work hard.

Trip leaders are about to begin large fundraising campaigns to ensure that students can participate in community service programs for an alternative spring break experience at a minimal cost. These programs, to occur this March, will involve nearly 100 Dartmouth students.

The fundraising efforts this year will include spaghetti dinners, concerts and the arrangement of grant proposals, all in the name of soliciting contributions from Dartmouth alumni and local businesses.

"We are planning on starting [fundraising] this winter," said Lauren Grabowski '02, fundraising chair and co-leader of this year's Habitat for Humanity community service trip to Trinidad. "Normally this includes social programming events, like a show or a concert."

Habitat also always does a "Lego house," Grabowski said, in which the group sells a Lego brick for a dollar to whoever will purchase one, and then a Lego house is built -- that is, if the group is successful.

The College offers a stipend of $1,000 to each trip that runs and expects that the trip leaders will manage to raise enough money to run the program. Anne Sosin '02, co-leader of the Trinidad trip, estimated the average cost of a trip at $15,000.

"I think it will be pretty difficult to raise the money," Sosin said, "because we only have one term to do it.

"We do a lot of grant writing to a lot of campus organizations, to a lot of alumni clubs and to businesses and organizations in our hometowns," she continued.

Sosin said other fundraising ideas in the making are a "data match" -- in which Dartmouth students would fill out forms and be matched with whoever they are most compatible with on campus -- as well as a possible concert at the skiway.

Each trip, depending on whether or not it is within the United States, as well as what type of work projects the trip will include, will vary in price range for the participants.

Dave Morse '03, a Tucker Fellow who will be a co-leader of Costa Rica's trip this March, said that with work projects including the construction of a kindergarten and work in a school in a settlement of Nicaraguan refugees, the trip will cost somewhere in the range of $200 to $300 per person.

Others range from about $200 for the Jacksonville, Fla., trip to approximately $400-500 for the Trinidad trip, Jason Keenum, Administrative Assistant to the Tucker Foundation, said.

This spring break will be the fourth time the Tucker trips are run. The trips are, on average, nine days long. Keenum estimated that of the nine days spent on the trip, eight and a half are spent working.

"It is a way for students who don't have the opportunity during the term to do community service," Keenum said.

While the programs incorporate a large time commitment aside from the actual trips -- participants must take a class about their destination prior to the trip, help with fundraising activities and also take part in post-trip activities -- Keenum said that student interest has been increasing.

"They are so popular that ... two trips were filled by the end of the Fall term," Keenum said. "There is great enthusiasm, outstanding feedback."

The trip locations include Costa Rica, Florida, Honduras, South Carolina, West Virginia and Trinidad, and most are still accepting applications.