For the past three years, University of Illinois Springfield psychology major Hailey Hawkins has spent her spring break volunteering with the Alternative Spring Break (ASB) student organization. However, this year was a little different. As president of ASB, she helped select the destination and organize the trip.
“It’s definitely different than how most college students spend spring break, but it’s a great experience and I wouldn’t change it for anything,” she said.
Hawkins and a group of 25 UIS student spent their spring break helping with eco-restoration projects along the Florida Panhandle Gulf Coast. They helped with an oyster relief project where they bagged oysters to put back into the Gulf of Mexico, in an effort to prevent coastal erosion. They also shoveled rocks and cleaned roofs for non-profit organizations.
“I’ve had a different experience all three years during spring break, but it’s a lot of fun,” said Hawkins. “I get to meet new people. I really love volunteering and helping others.”
In past years, Hawkins has helped feed the homeless in New York City during Alternative Spring Break and helped with ecological sustainability projects in Biloxi, Mississippi.
On campus, Hawkins is a member of the Capital Scholars Honors Program and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She has played on the UIS women’s soccer team for the past three years.
“I absolutely love being on the soccer team,” she said. “It’s definitely challenging. It keeps me very busy, but I love the team aspect of it and traveling. I love being pushed and just showing all of the hard work coming together in the end.”
Following graduation from UIS, Hawkins wants to apply to the Peace Corps. She knows the experiences she’s had at UIS will help her in the future.
“I’m very glad that I decided to come to UIS,” she said. “I’ve loved the campus and the experience ever since I’ve been here. The fit has just felt so right and there’s been so many opportunities for me here on campus.”