South Dakota students spend holiday break serving others

Eighty University of South Dakota (USD) students will forgo their holiday breaks this winter to take part in one of seven service-learning trips planned around the country and abroad.

Alternative Week of Off-Campus Learning (AWOL) students had a choice of working on poverty and habitat in Guatemala; disaster and poverty in New Orleans; health and children in Orlando; advocacy in Springfield, Missouri; health in Dallas; education and child well-being in St. Louis; and education and advocacy in Indianapolis.

"AWOL meets a number of USD's strategic goals,” Sarah Wittmuss, director of the Center for Academic and Global Engagement, said. "It strives to meet the diversity and inclusiveness goals of the plan, encourages service-learning and increases positive relationships between the campus and community.”

The program also facilitates similar programs during spring and summer breaks. It is funded in part by a university-led crowdfunding effort, in addition to the participants' personal fundraising.

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