Winthrop Students Humbled by Alternative Spring Break Experience

March 28, 2019


  • Thirteen students and one faculty member traveled to Washington, D.C., for Alternative Spring Break.

Alternative Spring BreakWASHINGTON, D.C. — Justin Rose always looks for opportunities to grow personally and push himself out of his comfort zone.

He found one such opportunity this March when he participated in Winthrop University Center for Career Development and Internships’s Alternative Spring Break program.

“I was inspired because I saw it as an opportunity to learn through service more about poverty and homelessness,” said Rose, a business administration major from Columbia, South Carolina. “I was hoping that through my experience during Alternative Spring Break, I could learn more about what I can do back home in my local community to better serve those facing these issues.”

Rose joined 12 other students and one faculty member, College of Business Administration Assistant Professor Vanessa Valdez, for a week-long trip to Washington, D.C. Students worked for three non-profits: Thrive DC, which works to prevent and end homelessness by providing vulnerable people with various services; A Wider Circle, which works to end poverty through programs and services; and Martha’s Table, which provides groceries and healthy eating options to children.

Working with Thrive DC was Rose’s favorite part of the trip.

“I was tasked with serving food to the men and woman that came in,” he said. “I directly had the opportunity to chat with each person, and it was refreshing and a privilege to be able to serve them.”

Meanwhile, Rock Hill art major Margaret Claytor’s favorite moment came through service work with Martha’s Table. Winthrop volunteers passed out bags of fresh fruit and vegetables to parents picking up their children at Rise Academy.

“Being able to interact with the students was so much fun,” Claytor said. “Seeing how happy they were made the entire week so worth it. Also knowing how much of an impact the produce bags will make since there are limited resources in their community for fresh foods was humbling.”

For Claytor, a Close Scholar, volunteerism is just a way of life.

“Deciding to go on the Alternative Spring Break trip to Washington, D.C., was just a continuation of the volunteering experience I have been having since coming to Winthrop, but taking my time to a new community, which I find important,” she said.

Interested in joining a future Alternative Spring Break trip? Contact Laura Foster, director of volunteering and community service, in the Center for Career Development and Internships at 803/323-2520 or

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