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FAU Moves Alternative Spring Break to Tallahassee to Help the Homeless

            BOCA RATON, FL (March  25, 2011) – Florida Atlantic University’s Weppner Center for Civic Engagement and Service and 23 of its student volunteers recently traveled to Tallahassee to participate in the Alternative Spring Break program. The students conducted service activities in homeless shelters throughout the city.

            “The students learned not to assume or judge others and that homelessness can happen to anyone at any time,” said Rochelle Popp, assistant director of student involvement and leadership for FAU’s Treasure Coast campuses. “These experiences gave them an opportunity to think about those who are receiving the benefits of them donating their time and how they can bring that energy to their own communities.”

             The FAU students visited The Shelter of Tallahassee-Leon County, where they listened to residents speak about being homeless, sorted donated clothing, and cleaned the shelter’s grounds and facilities.  The student volunteers also played with children at the Big Bend Homeless Coalition’s H.O.P. E. Community transitional housing program, prepared and served dinner for its families, as well as cleaned the grounds.  Another stop included Grace Mission Episcopal Church, which serves low-income children, where students organized books and prepared the facility for a fresh coat of paint.  A scavenger hunt that required the volunteers to locate resources for the homeless in Tallahassee reinforced their civic engagement experiences.

            “FAU students have been volunteering for Alternative Spring Break for the last five years, and they’re able to expand their knowledge on the subject matter, gain community service experience and devote concentrated time to something without the complexities of college responsibilities,” said Nori Carter, director of FAU’s Weppner Center for Civic Engagement and Service. “Any stereotypes they might have had about the homeless were quickly dispelled. They gained an understanding that they are people first.”

Past Alternative Spring Break projects included the assistance of Hurricane Katrina victims in Louisiana; cleaning up national parks, volunteering in soup kitchens and after-care programs; as well as helping to build homes for Habitat for Humanity. 


About Florida Atlantic University:

Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. In commemoration of its origin, FAU is celebrating its 50th anniversary throughout 2011. Today, the University serves more than 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students on seven campuses and sites. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts & Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of  Education, the College of  Engineering & Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. For more information, visit

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