SRU CareBreaks emphasize service over sand and surf


rescued chimpanzee in Fort Pierce, Florida.

Slippery Rock University students taking part in the Spring 2017 CareBreaks program can opt to help take care of Arthur and other chimpanzees that reside at “Save the Chimps,” a non-profit organization dedicated to providing permanent sanctuary for the lifelong care of rescued chimpanzees in Fort Pierce, Florida.

Nov. 29, 2016

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - For many college students, part of the attraction of the annual phenomenon known as spring break involves reveling in adventures with friends at sunny and sandy destinations.

But for a number of Slippery Rock University students, the opportunity to make a difference in a community and in the lives of others takes top priority via the University's CareBreaks program.

Sponsored by the Center for Student Involvement and Leadership, the Spring 2017 CareBreaks community service program will be offering a trio of domestic options for "volunteer vacations" to Florida, Georgia and North Carolina. An extended service-learning experience, the program sees SRU students travel to strategically selected communities in need across the country.

Registration for the March 11-19 CareBreaks are being accepted through the CSIL. The deadline for registration is Jan. 26.

CareBreaks options include:

  • "Save the Chimps," Fort Pierce, Florida 
    Students will work with chimpanzees rescued from research laboratories, entertainment industries and the pet trade. Students will provide meal preparation; assist in the creation of high quality and stimulating habitats; and craft entertaining toys and other engaging materials for the chimpanzees. Participants will also be instructed in animal welfare and treatments.

  • Cape Hatteras National Park Service, Buxton, North Carolina 
    Exploring the effects of manmade climate change on the coastline and reef of Cape Hatteras, students will provide advocacy, cleanup and preservation. Service projects will include painting interior and exterior park housing and removing litter along the seashore.

  • America's Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia, Savannah, Georgia 
    Students will help relieve food insecurities at a food bank that distributes more than 10 million meals annually to people struggling with hunger. Not only will participants prepare and serve meals, but they will organize and distribute non-perishables within the community.

"Cleaning up the beach and the ecosystem and caring for the animals really makes these trips that environmentally-conscious individuals will enjoy," said Clare Clark, a sophomore environmental major from Brooksville and student coordinator for the CareBreaks program.

Laura Villers, coordinator for community service & service learning, has high hopes for not only the future of the program, but for the students and the communities they will be serving as well.

"Our goals in looking toward the future, are to make certain that service is high quality and that both community benefits and student learning outcomes are really strong," said Villers. "When we enter these communities, we want to ensure we are meeting a need that they have communicated, not just one we have assumed is right for them.

"We hope that students can walk away from these experiences with strong skills and a knowledge-set that they can apply to whatever they wish to accomplish afterward."

Faculty, staff and student advisers travel with students on the trips, which cost participants $400. For more information, contact Villers at: 724.738.4937 or stop by the CSIL office on the second floor of the Smith Student Center.

MEDIA CONTACT: Maizee Zaccone | 724.738.2091 |