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February 03, 2005 - Image 14

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2005-02-03

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4B - The NOtigan Daily - ThuradaySbruary 3, 2005 B S S B

4B - The Noigan Daily - Thursdayabruary 3, 2005








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un a~st-minute opti~ons or 'U' students


By Tian Lee
Daily Arts Writer
"That's really far away! How long did it take
you to get here?" asked the children.
As LSA senior Caitlin Patterson and the rest
of her group pointed to Michigan on a map,
the children from the local Boys and Girls
Club listened as the group explained the many
miles they traveled -by car - for a day and a
half to get to the Apache Reservation in New
Mexico, their home for the next week.
Patterson and the rest-of the group was a
part of a University student service project
called Alternative Spring Break (ASB), which
is part of a nation-wide movement of service
spring break opportunities, where students
travel across America, working with different
people and learning about different cultures.
Started at the University in 1990, ASB began
by sending 15 students to two locations in
Michigan and has now expanded, sending over
500 students to over 40 sites each year.
During spring break last year, Patterson
had spent one week with the MescaleroTribe
of the Apache Indians - one week to expe-
rience their culture and an opportunity to
realize the complexities that define the cur-
rent state of the Apache people. Yet as stark
as some of these truths were, the redeeming
evidence of austrong community remained.
Traces of a group of people that truly cared
about one another.
"The community that I was involved with
was one of the strongest that I've ever been
involved with," Patterson said. "Despite the
fact that they are impoverished and they are
dealing with alcoholism and teenage pregnan-
cies, it was one of the most vibrant commu-
nities that I've ever seen because people take
care of each other."
Before she left on her trip, Patterson began
the trip possessing little knowledge of Native
American issues. "I went out there incredibly

"The one thing that
connects us all is that
we're human and that
we care about the
people around us"
- Daniel TanĀ§
Engineering senior
ignorant," Patterson said. "I'm still pretty bad,
but at least conscious of it."
While Patterson described the isolation of
the tribe and her dismay at how they were 3
reducedtoa tourist attractionwthegroup's
time with the Mescalero tribe, in essence, was
to experience the richness and vastness of a
culture that was indeed quite vibrantly alive.
"Everyone we talked to was so friendly and
so involved in the community. Our experience
was of a group of people coming together to
support one another and to make sure that
their children were taken care of in every way
(and) to thrive individually, as a community
and culturally," Patterson said.
Engineering senior Daniel Tan spent 30 Students from the University on Alternative Spring Break stand in front of a mural ir
hours traveling in two minivans with his team Texas. The program sends students all over the country to perform acts of service.
that went to El Paso, Texas to work at the
Annunciation House - a refuge site for illegal "I was really touched by how everyone -
immigrants from Central and South America. despite the fact that we were all so different - Two students, two stories
Although Tan, an international student from cared so much about the issue. Just talking to "It's been my experience, tha
Singapore, was able to see the struggles of the them and finding out about the social injustic- everywhere has similar values.
United States through the lens of a third party, es made me realize that our differences aren't wants us to take care of their fam
his experience was similar to Patterson's. that far from each other," Tan said. "The one terson said. "I learned that we ne

New York City bring cash. Broad-
Places like Times Square, way shows Altar
Central Park and Rockerfeller Boyz and Dirty
Center are popular and no Rotten Scoundrels
NYC trip would be complete have their opening
without seeing them. Green- nights on March
wichVillage and Soho 1st and 3rd,
are perfect respectively.
for shopping For those
withe tons of -. looking to see a
shops, includ- piece of history,
ing vintage the city
clothing offers
and record a tour
stores. of the
People interested in seeing the- Statue of
ater can buy day-of tickets in Liberty and Ellis Island on March
Times Square for Broadway shows 4. Reservations are required, so
at TKTS - just don't forget to those interested should call (888)

692-8701. As for the nightlife, there's an
Tourists interested in the enter- array of bars and clubs, ranging
tainment side of things can take from more low key ones - such
advantage of the Manhattan TV as Culture Club, which only plays
and Movie Tour, which takes visi- '80s music - to supertrendy clubs
tors to over 80locations from their such as Studio 54.
favorite TV shows and movies.
This is only offered from Thursday Toronto
through Sunday, so plan accord- For those who choose not to solely
ingly. take advantage of the young drink-
Traditional winter fun can still ing age of 19, Toronto has other
be found, as the city offers ice skat- cool experiences. One example is
ing at Wollman Rink in the world- the Whinny Acres All-you-can-eat
famous Central Park. Pancakes and Trailride on Horse-
The restaurants in Little Italy back; for just $30 Canadian, enjoy a
cook delicious food and some offer ride through the forest complete and
lunch specials, making it possible a hearty breakfast, complete with
to eat a huge lunch without spend- maple syrup.
ing a fortune. Additionally, explore Medieval

Toronto in Casa Loma, Toronto's
resident castle, complete with 800-
foot tunnel, secret passageways and
cloud-touching towers.
Another tower worth checking out
is the CN Tower. Known as "Cana-
da's Wonder of the World," the CN
Tower is the world's tallest build-
ing at 1,815 feet tall and the trip tq_
the top will be a remarkable experi-
Despite the fact that spring break
falls in the middle of winter, the
Toronto Zoo is still open for busi-
ness, with over 5000 animals of
many species to see.
Visit www.toronto.com for restau-
rant and bar guides, ticket prices and
purchasing and coming attractions.

it everyone
ilies," Pat-
ed to take

thing that connects us all is that we're human
and that we care about the people around us."
When Tan and his team arrived in El Paso,
an illegal immigrant had just been shot dead
by a border patrol officer. Emotional intensity
lingered, as fear still remained in the hearts of
many incarcerated illegal immigrants. "None of
us in the group knew this man, but we still felt
this sense of humanity," said Tan. "We all want-
pr an to the vgil o chirpin:it:''-'h"

better care of each other as individuals and as
a society. People genuinely want to - at least
in the community that I was in. They want to
take care of each other."
"We don't exactly help them much," said
Tan. "But I think the most important thing of
all is the fact that they know we are willing
to take the time to learn about their experi-
ences-to share our stories with them, and
for them to share their stories with us. I think
being there for one week; all we could do was
be a friend."
Patterson agreed with Tan. "We weren't
there to tell them of our experience; we were
there to learn from their community and their
cultural experience. It's an exchange of sto-
ries on a human level - rather than a cultural
Two groups of students, driving relentless-
ly in small puttering minivans to seemingly
foreign places, were hundreds of miles away
from the realities of books and exams and
the debauchery of bikini-clad spring breaks
in Cancun Mexico and the comforts of an
Ann Arbor life they'd become accustomed to.
Together, they discovered the power of people,
and the intimate realization of humanity.
"It's not my experience," Patterson said. "I
don't know it - but I can learn from it."
To be more involved with these projects or
to receive more information about Alternative
Spring Break on campus, visit their website at
www.umich.edu/~volunteer, e-mail the ASB
Leadership Team at holdthemayo@umich.edu
or call (734) 936-2437.



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