The Center for Student Leadership Ethics & Public Service at NC State sends students who love to serve out into the world on what are known as Alternative Service Breaks. Students can choose between fall, winter or spring break and between programs that feature different countries or more locally-focused service projects. The stories in this series are just a few of many students who will be going out and developing leadership and service skills over spring break, which begins Monday.
Chelsea Bowman, Belize
Chelsea Bowman is excited to motivate others this spring break and contribute to a healthier environment.
Bowman, a junior from Randleman, N.C., is a student co-leader on the CSLEPS spring break trip to Belize. Since June, she planned to travel with a group of fellow NC State students to focus on environmental and agricultural issues in the area near Punta Gorda.
Bowman and her team will be working throughout the week with the Toledo Cacao Growers Association, or TCGA. The growers association is focused on creating a better life for its farmers through competition and ecologically-friendly practices.
“We’re working at the garden,” says Bowman. “So (the trip) focuses more on environmental issues.”
The team will also coordinate with the House of Chocolate, a museum that features the story of the Cacao plant. The Belize team might help build drying racks for the beans, but the garden will be the main focus, says Bowman.
The service trip will also have a lot of fun activities for the students.
“Through the week we just work with (the TCGA), have lunch in town and then on the weekends we have extra-curricular activities,” says Bowman. “That includes Mayan ruins and snorkeling, water falls. We only work Monday through Friday.”
This kind of volunteering is not new to Bowman. Last year, she spent her spring break and first time out of the country with another CSLEPS program in El Salvador. She laid foundations and poured concrete for houses with the Fuller Center for Housing program.
“I’ve always felt the need to do more activities, become a leader,” says Bowman. “I really enjoy service, I did in high school.”
Bowman, an education major, would like to let that love for service carry over after college. “I’d like to join the Peace Corps,” she says. “Just wherever they send me, the location doesn’t matter to me.”
Bowman became a leader because of all the love she has for volunteering. She hopes it inspires others on the trip. “My biggest hope is for my team members to become as inspired as I am to become involved with serving, here at NC State and carrying over what they learn to be a leader themselves,” says Bowman. “I hope they become leaders in service like I have. That’s what I really want; and to also make an impact with the TCGA.”
— Molly Green