Over Arcadia University’s spring break, while first-year and transfer students readied for Preview, a group of 38 undergraduate and alumni volunteers participated in the weeklong Community and Civic Engagement Center (CCEC) Alternative Spring Break, a community service-oriented excursion that this year went to Tijuana, Mexico.
Volunteers worked with Fundación Esperanza de Mexico (FEM), a Mexican nonprofit organization that facilitates community building as well as environment and sustainability projects. Arcadia’s students worked at two different sites, where they helped to build houses. They also visited an orphanage, clinic, and recycling center that are operated by FEM to support the communities of Tijuana.
“I learned a lot about myself,” said Manny Vasquez ’16, an international business major who co-coordinated Alternative Spring Break. “When I first came in I didn’t know how to build a house [and] I didn’t know I was capable of doing it. I learned a lot about my strengths and weaknesses.”
Director of CCEC Cindy Rubino said she hopes students would now be “ambassadors” of Tijuana, and encourage understanding of underprivileged areas. Rubino said in contrast to her last visit to the region several years ago, the community had progressed and it was no longer some place to fear.