How to Spend Spring Break

by Julia Desiato

Starting foundation for the house in North Carolina! Literally just piles of dirt and the cement foundation.

Spring break is typically something you look forward to, starting with day one of the spring semester. It’s a time for relaxation, sleeping in and even finding some time to catch up on any of that work you might’ve missed. If you’re looking to get more out of your spring break though, UConn has so many different opportunities to offer!

My freshman year, I was completely overwhelmed by the many clubs and trips that exist, but luckily I had a friend who helped me find out about this amazing club she was in called Honors Across State Borders (aka HASB). For spring break, HASB takes a road trip somewhere in the United States and works with Habitat for Humanity.

I first did it during my spring break freshman year and we went to Nashville, Tennessee, which was absolutely amazing. As a country music fan living in Connecticut, I was excited to have the opportunity to go see the Country Music Hall of Fame and everything else the south has to offer in just a short 20 hour bus ride. Going into the trip, I had zero experience with power tools and left the trip an expert with a circular saw and nail gun (much to my mom’s dismay). We worked with some incredible people like Tash who has worked with Habitat for Humanity for years and taught us how to side an entire house!

Author hammering some of the thousands of nails for the floorboards.

I recently went on my second trip with HASB a couple of weeks ago to North Carolina this time. We were able to explore Winston Salem and had a totally different experience being in the rural countryside. Instead of siding, we were able to quite literally see the house being built from the ground up. When we first got to the site, there were only piles of dirt and the foundation. Over the course of 5 days, we were able to install trusses, hammer in thousands of nails for the floorboards and eventually get the walls up! The Habitat for Humanity workers were extremely grateful and said that we were able to put their construction over 5 weeks ahead of schedule.  

Going on a trip like this was a great way to spend spring break. I was able to learn many construction tricks and I met a lot of people who were dedicating their lives to Habitat for Humanity, which was really inspiring to see. I chose to do service through Honors Across State Borders, but there are many other service trips you can do through UConn’s Community Outreach or other organizations. Taking part in an opportunity like this is a great way to make new connections with people you might not otherwise meet and allows you to get some service in over your spring break. I would definitely recommend exploring different ways to give back over break because it really is such a fun and rewarding experience.

All 53 club members on the last day sitting in front of the walls they just put up!