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Spring break spent volunteering

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Rather than hitting the beach or the ski hill, eight students from the University of North Texas are spending their spring break in Albuquerque, volunteering for two charities.

On Monday, the group packed boxes of food at the Roadrunner Food Bank, an activity it will continue today. Then on Wednesday and Thursday, it’s planning to move furniture and create care packages for formerly homeless people through the Metropolitan Homelessness Project.

It took about 10 hours for the students, accompanied by an adviser, to drive from the university in Denton, Texas, to Albuquerque. They arrived on Saturday and had Sunday for sightseeing — they checked out Sandia Peak and saw a Flamenco Hip-hopera at the National Hispanic Cultural Center — before diving into work Monday.

The trip is part of an Alternative Spring Break program at the University of North Texas. It’s one of about 17 trips across the country. Other students went to Joplin, Mo.; New Orleans; Galveston, Texas; Tahlequah, Okla.; Kansas City, Mo.; and Washington, D.C.

Most of the students had never been to New Mexico before, said Laura Pasquini, the group’s adviser.

“A lot of them have not been out of state,” she said.

They’re staying at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, which helps keeps costs to about $250 per person for the trip.

Asked why she chose to spend spring break volunteering in Albuquerque, rather than going on a more traditional trip, junior Irene Osemwegie said she wanted to meet new people and work on her leadership skills.

“It’s always a pleasure to help people that need help, especially when I have more than enough time,” said Osemwegie, who is majoring in health promotions.
— This article appeared on page D2 of the Albuquerque Journal