Open registration for nation’s largest alternative spring break program begins Oct. 27
AMERICUS, Ga., Oct. 14, 2003 – As students around the country prepare for fall midterms and begin anticipating the holiday season, thoughts of spring break are usually not too far behind. Instead of packing swimsuits and sunscreen, more than 12,000 students are expected to pick up hammers and tool belts to participate in Habitat for Humanity International’s “Collegiate Challenge,” the nation’s largest alternative break program. Students in college and high school are encouraged to make plans now to participate in this popular and rewarding spring break program.
Collegiate Challenge is Habitat for Humanity’s year-round alternative break program for groups of five or more students, ages 16 and older. Students spend a week of their school break working on construction projects with Habitat for Humanity in the United States and Mexico.
Collegiate Challenge spring break 2003 had 10,435 participants who represented 690 teams. These teams were comprised of youth groups, service organizations, fraternities and sororities, and other clubs, including Habitat for Humanity campus chapters, from more than 400 high school, college and university campuses. In addition to making a substantial contribution of physical labor, the students raised almost $1 million for Habitat for Humanity, averaging $100 per person. When combined with fall, winter and summer break trip figures, Habitat for Humanity’s Collegiate Challenge program as a whole witnessed 11,613 students fully completing 117 homes and working on 478 others during 2003.
“It is said that life’s lessons are often best taught in the experiences that we pursue outside of the classroom, and I think I learned that best last March,” said Joe Arruda, a junior at Bentley College in Waltham, Mass., of his participation in Collegiate Challenge.
Habitat for Humanity’s Collegiate Challenge program allows students to discover that one person, as part of a large organization or movement, can make a tremendous impact and change the world – one family at a time. As a result of their experiences, many students become lifelong volunteers and advocates of Habitat for Humanity.
“Students are a dynamic movement within Habitat for Humanity,” said Millard Fuller, founder and president of Habitat for Humanity International. “Collegiate Challenge offers the opportunity to introduce students to the problem of poverty and a practical way to help eliminate substandard housing. These dynamic, young people contribute enormously to the building of hundreds of houses. These students who become involved in Habitat for Humanity today are the adults who will lead the work of this ministry in the years to come.”
Open registration for Collegiate Challenge spring break trips begins Monday, Oct. 27, 2003, at 8 a.m. (EST) and will continue through January. Habitat for Humanity campus chapter groups may be able to take advantage of early bird registration (see Web site for details) beginning Oct. 20, 2003, at 8 a.m. (EDT). Before calling Habitat for Humanity International, all student groups should first visit http://www.habitat.org/ccyp/  for information on trip guidelines and a list of build site locations in the United States and Mexico. Groups may register beginning Oct. 27 by calling (800) HABITAT and speaking to a Collegiate Challenge coordinator at extension 2215, 2200, 2617 or 2410.
Students must be age 16 by the time they leave for the trip and groups should have five or more individuals participating. The cost of participation to the student includes a $15 program fee, affiliate contribution for building materials, transportation and meals. Prior to calling Habitat for Humanity International to register, student group leaders should have selected three to four build locations from the Habitat for Humanity Web site, chosen a designated contact person, determined the total number of student participants and confirmed the dates of their school’s spring break. Student groups are encouraged to register as soon as possible after Oct. 27 so they have a better chance of confirming their primary choices for spring break build locations.
Although spring break is the most popular time for taking alternative break trips, there are also fall, winter and summer trip opportunities and registration for these trips is open year-round. Student groups desiring to participate in a fall, winter or summer break trip can visit the Habitat for Humanity Web site to look up locations and registration information.
About Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat for Humanity International is a Christian ministry dedicated to eliminating poverty housing. Founded in 1976 by Millard Fuller, along with his wife, Linda, Habitat for Humanity International and its affiliates in more than 3,000 communities in 89 nations have built and sold more than 150,000 homes to partner families with no-profit, zero-interest mortgages. Habitat has more than 770 campus chapters throughout the world. www.habitat.org/ .