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Not Your Usual Spring Break

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    In 2010, Southwestern students participated in a Destination: Service seminar experience in Washington, D.C., which focused on poverty and healthcare in America. This year students will have the opportunity to learn more about human trafficking through trips to Washington and New York City.

Trips to Washington, D.C., and New York City offer students a chance to learn about human trafficking

Two trips being offered to students over spring break this year will provide a decidedly different way to spend the mid-term vacation: studying the issue of human trafficking.

One group of students is traveling to Washington, D.C., where they will learn about human trafficking from a domestic perspective, and another group is going to New York City where they will study the issue’s international implications. Both seminars are being offered by the General Board of Church and Society (GBCS) of the United Methodist Church.

The two trips are part of Southwestern’s annual Destination: Service program sponsored by the Office of Religious Life. Two other Destination: Service trips also are being offered this year – one to the Gila Wilderness in New Mexico, where students will help with trail maintenance, and another one to El Paso, Texas, where students will work with the Lower Valley Housing Corporation to help build houses for low-income residents. The trips begin March 12.

“I wanted to go on the Destination: Service trip not only be more productive over my spring break, but also to gain more knowledge about the very important topic of human trafficking,” said Katie De La Vega, a junior who is going on the trip to New York City.

The GBCS Seminar Program on International and National Affairs is an opportunity for young people from around the country to explore the intersections of faith, religion, politics, social justice advocacy and institutions working with issues such as education, the environment, global health, immigration and poverty. 

Both trips will include the two-day seminar, one day of volunteer service, tours of the U.S. Capitol for the Washington, D.C., group and United Nations building for the New York City group, as well as seminary visits.

The issue of human trafficking was chosen by overwhelming majority of students after last spring’s seminar experience in Washington, D.C., which focused on poverty and healthcare in America. “I feel it is important, as Southwestern students, to focus on the issue of human trafficking because it is a topic that has the potential to be go unnoticed in our everyday lives on campus. Trips such as these help us broaden our understanding of how we fit into an ever-expanding world view,” De La Vega said.

After both groups have returned to Southwestern, they will reflect on and discuss how what they have learned can stay with them as they move back into their school routines. “I expect this trip will be more than a fun few days with my peers, but rather a perspective-changing experience that will increase my awareness both as a student in Georgetown, Texas, and as a citizen of the globe,” De La Vega said.

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