Passport to Purpose

February 29, 2024

By Jessica Firpi ’11

Alternative Spring Break locales

During spring break, our students have the opportunity to explore real-world issues and grow as global citizens.

Spring break at Rollins isn’t just about beach days. Our students have the opportunity to embark with passion and purpose into the world to learn what it means to make a meaningful impact. From faculty-led field studies to service-focused Immersions, our alternative spring break (ASB) experiences allow students to engage with a different culture up close, see a real-world issue play out in the lives of a community, or watch history come to life—key drivers of global citizenship and responsible leadership.

Explore a few of the upcoming ASB offerings for spring break 2024—from learning about turtle conservation in the Caribbean to examining issues of race in our nation’s capital—and discover how you can use spring break to further your interests, expand your worldview, and enhance your experiences in the classroom.

Ireland landscape

Field Study: Communication, Culture, and Conflict in Northern Ireland

  • Faculty/staff leaders: Anne Stone, professor of communication; Melissa Nelson, staff director, Social Impact Hub

The Scoop

Gain a new perspective on communication differences across global communities while exploring the history of religious discrimination in Northern Ireland and its current impact on the region. You’ll visit Derry and Queens University to explore Irish protest art and music, and you’ll also examine the efforts of the country to become more environmentally conscious through the use of renewable energy as you bike through Belfast and visit a sustainable and regenerative farm in the Ballymoney area.

“I look forward to applying my academic knowledge in a global context,” shares political science major Bobby Sena ’24. “The prospect of analyzing and applying these disciplines to a different country is going to be intellectually enriching. I’m also excited to re-evaluate my existing perceptions of Ireland. Having only seen Ireland through American media, I aim to gain a more nuanced understanding of Irish culture.”

Rollins students on an Immersion trip in D.C.

Racial Legacy in Action

  • Staff leader: Marjorie Trueblood, dean of the Student Center for Inclusion & Belonging

The Scoop

From exploring museums and monuments to working with local nonprofits like Mother’s Table, you’ll engage in direct service and education aimed at advancing racial justice and equity right in Washington, D.C. This experience centers on each person thinking critically about their own identity, as well as educating themselves about the lived experiences of the diverse communities of color who call the nation’s capital home.

“I want students to gain a better understanding of racial inequality and some of the ways we can help marginalized communities right here in Florida,” shares studio art major Leila Betts ’26, an Immersion student facilitator. “One of our main goals is to reflect on our service and observe how others are making a difference. I hope everyone will walk away with new friends and a great experience they will look back on in a positive light.”

Baby sea turtle in Trinidad and Tobago

Service Immersion in Trinidad and Tobago

  • Staff leader: Victoria Teske, associate director, Center for Leadership & Community Engagement

The Scoop

From the capital city of Port of Spain to the small town of Madura, this Immersion provides a look into the everyday, textured life of this Caribbean island nation. Learn from local experts, visit a range of nonprofit organizations, and engage in direct service projects focused on community development, cultural heritage, and conservation issues like turtle protection, forest-fire prevention, and climate change. Visits to the Caribbean Indo Museum and a bird sanctuary will demonstrate the unique history and environment of Trinidad and Tobago as well as its rich cultural and religious diversity.

“I would love to see students develop a deep appreciation for Trinidad and Tobago’s culture, traditions, and values through this Immersion and our interactions with locals,” says social entrepreneurship major Maggie Brandt ’25, an Immersion student facilitator. “The goal is that we all cultivate a sense of responsibility as global citizens by actively participating in these service projects and recognize our huge potential to create positive change worldwide.”

Sustainable initiatives in Portland, Oregon

Sustainable Service in the City of Roses

  • Staff leader: Zari St. Jean, Rollins greenhouse coordinator

The Scoop

This Immersion brings students who are passionate about environmental justice and sustainability across the country to one of the greenest cities in the nation. Portland, Oregon, is an environmentally progressive city that combines sustainable practices with urban planning efforts to create resilient and low-impact communities. You’ll engage in several educational and service opportunities related to houselessness, environmental justice, climate change, and urban sustainability as you uncover how the City of Roses keeps itself green.

“I hope students leave with an understanding of what a sustainable city looks like and how we can apply what we see in Portland to our own communities,” says Immersion student facilitator and anthropology major Noah Denmark ’26.

Zebras in South Africa

Field Study: Literature and Culture in South Africa

  • Faculty leaders: Ben Hudson, assistant professor of English; Jana Mathews, professor of English

The Scoop

Whether you’re diving into a short story, taking a safari through Kruger National Park, or immersing yourself in the culture of Cape Town and Johannesburg, you’ll explore the literature and wildlife of South Africa during this course and accompanying field study. Through readings, papers, presentations, and a post-trip research paper, you’ll survey the different cultural legacies that make up South African literature while investigating the challenging histories of British colonialism and its role in creating the segregationist policies of apartheid.

“I’m excited to explore a place with such natural beauty and amazing wildlife,” says history and English double major Reagan Cooney ’25, a student facilitator for the field study. “After learning much of the nation’s turbulent history through literature, I hope to broaden my understanding of the country’s recovery from apartheid. I can’t wait to engage with these communities and hear their stories of resilience.”

Savannah and Charleston

Southern Coastal Cities: The Past, Present, and Tomorrow in Savannah & Charleston

  • Staff leader: Nicole Solomon, area coordinator, Residential Life & Explorations

The Scoop

Travel along the Southern coast to traverse the historic cities of Savannah, Georgia, and Charleston, South Carolina, engaging in service related to diverse impact areas, including houselessness, food insecurity, and environmental sustainability. This Immersion focuses on how the scars of the past impact the communities of today and how nonprofit and community organizations are striving to create a more just and equitable tomorrow.

“Attending an Immersion at Rollins is an incredible opportunity for students to broaden their understanding of specific impact areas, give back to their communities, and inspire others through meaningful teamwork and leadership,” shares student facilitator and critical media and cultural studies major Bellamy Martin ’25. “I personally have experienced and seen how Immersions have fostered strong friendships and bonds among peers who share a passion for serving, learning, and contributing to prominent campus dialogues. I hope our participants create these connections, uncover new skills of their own, and that this experience will ignite a lifelong passion to engage in service and community leadership.”


See how our students are engaged in their communities through their Instagram posts.

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