APPLES Alternative Spring Break

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Some students will spend spring break in class

By Rachel Schmitt | The Daily Tar Heel

While many view spring break as a time away from class, some students see it as a time to dig deeper into their field of study.

Multiple courses at UNC contain a travel component over school breaks that allow students and instructors the opportunity to take a more hands-on approach to education.

Professor Richard Cole’s JOMC 447: “Mass Communication in Mexico” leaves Friday morning for Mexico City to attend lectures from various journalists at three separate universities in the city, a tour of the Mexican newspaper Reforma and a tour of Televisa, which is the second largest mass media company in Latin America.

“It’s a professional trip,” Cole said.

However, the class will take some time off to explore the city — visiting pyramids, the presidential palace, museums and the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

The trip, which is a required component of the course, cost each of the six students attending roughly $1500.

Other courses that travel over the break are doing so through the APPLES program “Alternative Breaks”, which provides an opportunity for students to perform service activities in different communities.

Sonda Oppewal, Clinical Associate Professor in the School of Nursing, is taking NURS 609: “Healthcare in the Global Context” to Tyrell County, N.C. to provide service for local community agencies, such as the Conservation Fund, Health Department, Columbia Medical Center and the local school system.

The course, which is interdisciplinary, has nursing, public health and physical therapy students.

“The students get the opportunity to learn from each other about other health disciplines,” Oppewal said. “They gain a lot of appreciation for each other.”

Tyrell County was chosen because it is the largest county in the state, the most sparsely populated and very rural.

“You would consider it a vulnerable county,” she said.

The course HBHE 610: “Critical Approaches to Service Learning” is also going on a spring break experience through the APPLES program, with different sections of the class traveling to various cities around the United States.

The sections are Urban Poverty, Civil Rights, Rural Poverty, Latino Issues and Disaster Relief and will travelling to Atlanta, Birmingham, Ala., Pembrook, N.C., and Hyde County, N.C., respectively.

Dane Emmerling, graduate instructor for the course, said that the experience gives students the tools and framework to do service and help solve social problems.

“We talk about social issues and we talk about understanding perspectives of communities before we decide who or what should be changed,” he said.

Jacob Frumkin, a recitation and service leader for the Civil Rights section of the course, said that the groups are required to do 30 hours of service over the break by working with different community organizations. His section will work with Habitat for Humanity, Better Basics and Birmingham AIDS Outreach, among others.

“You can do service anywhere, but we go to Birmingham because it’s historic,” Frumkin said. It’s all about putting it in perspective and thinking about what happened there.”

Published March 7, 2013 in Pit Talk