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Dec. 7, 2011
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab



SRU students take time to tackle tasks in Tuscaloosa


SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – Fourteen Slippery Rock University students will take time to help others during winter break when they travel to Tuscaloosa, Ala., to offer a week of community service.

The Jan. 7-14 SRU Care Break is being organized by students involved in SRU’s Center for Student Involvement and Leadership.

“The SRU students will be working with One Mission: Tuscaloosa,” said Sam Goodge, an SRU graduate student in the CSIL Office and trip mentor.

            “The One Mission organization recently moved to Tuscaloosa to provide disaster relief after the community was struck by tornados,” Goodge said. “The SRU students will be helping with clean up, home reconstruction and will work in local food pantries.”

            “The Care Break was completely organized by the participating students,” Goodge said,

“They planned the travel, found the collaborating organization and handled all related issues. Usually the trips are organized by graduate students, but after taking Dr. Michael Ignelzi’s class on student development, I decided to allow the students to organize their own trip taking a ‘Democratic Approach.’”

            The “Democratic Approach” makes use of the concept that everyone within the group has an equal voice when making a decision. “This allows for rich conversation and gaining respect for your fellow student,” he said.

The concept was discussed with Brad Kovaleski, CSIL director, and Ignelzi, associate professor in counseling and development, before the project moved forward.

“Students, working in two different groups, decided to attend the same location separately. While in Alabama, they plan to experience the culture of the south and the Tuscaloosa area and will explore the University of Alabama campus thanks to a connection with a student who attends the institution,” Goodge said.

            SRU students participating in the Tuscaloosa Care Break are:

Grace Evans, a mathematics major, and Justina Cerra, a communication major, both from Apollo; Kiley Pogas, a dance major from Sarver; Cassie Balawender, a dance major from Kent, Ohio; Kristen Wojtila, resort, recreation and tourism management major from Aurora, Ohio; Julianne Popivchak, a exercise science major from Washington; Jillian McNeilly, an exercise science major from Trafford; Dave Matuszak, a resort recreation major from Seven Fields; Lauren Tucker, a health services major from Perryopolis; Tyler Scheuering, an elementary education major from Pittsburgh; Emily Sphar, a mathematics major from Morgantown, W. Va.; Carol Barnes, a chemistry major from Silver Spring, Md; and Adam Mignogna, a exercise science major, and Wes Decker, a public health major, both from Mount Laurel, N.J.. 

            During the upcoming spring semester, the CSIL is organizing 10 Care Breaks that will send students to Virginia, Georgia, Florida, Illinois, Arkansas, Missouri, Kentucky, Mississippi and Utah. Sign-ups are now open for the programs at a cost of $275 per student; a $25 deposit is required. Opportunities to fundraise are available.

            Those interested in the Care Break program should call 724.738.2273.


Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania’s premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.