Worst Spring Break Ever? Rollins College Students Spend Week Working As Immigrants

Categories: Flotsam
winter-party-beach-party-2010.4525010.36.jpg
Not a Rollins College student.
The words spring break in Miami conjure up images of beach parties, bikini-clad butt cheeks, and beer-drenched undergrads doing the dirty in Ocean Drive hotel stairwells. We've all been there, and we still don't remember how we got that butterfly tattoo on our lower back.

But for a group of Rollins College students, last week meant something else entirely: a hell of a lot of hard work.

A dozen guilt-ridden undergrads from Winter Park, Florida, came to Miami not to drink but to experience life as an undocumented immigrant through a program called Alternative Spring Break. First stop: the tomato fields and tree nurseries of Homestead.

"It was exhausting," admitted Ian Wallace, a Rollins junior with a serious sunburn from the previous day's work. "We were on our knees, in the dirt, with pesticides all over the place for five hours. I can't imagine doing this for 12 hours a day on minimum wage."

Day two: a low-income school in Little Haiti. So much better than South Beach!

"Yesterday was more labor-intensive," sophomore Kajsa Mashaw-Smith said as she helped corral unruly kids after school at Jesse J. McCrary Elementary. "Today is all about immigrant children, which is really why I came on this trip." What she was really looking forward to, however, was visiting immigration court later in the week.

Lucas Hernandez, the group's student organizer, said they aren't simply masochists.

"We make sure that the trip is fun, but also empowering," the Cuban-American explained. "The whole purpose is to get comprehensive sense of the issue of immigration. Not to get one side of debate, not to rely on the media, but to make us more conscientious people."

Yet even when the students tried to have a little traditional spring break fun -- attending a Miami Heat game Tuesday night -- they ended up suffering. The Heat blew another lead, losing its fifth straight.

"We got pretty into the game," Hernandez said. "It was a real bummer."

Was this the worst spring break of all time?

Not a chance, said the students. Just take a look at the scoreboard: hard work, yes. Awkward tattoos and hangovers, no.

"Miami's not going anywhere," Mashaw-Smith added with a grin. "Besides, I come down all the time. I went to the beach last week."

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11 comments
Xiomara
Xiomara

Thank you to all of you who saw the truth, passion, and commitment behind our journey. We, the students at Rollins who attended this alternative spring break, chose to participate because we each hold a passion for reaching out to our communities and to gaining both personal and intellectual growth. We challenged ourselves beyond our cultural borders and gained a wealth of knowledge as to how our voices can help make a difference. It is unfortunate that Mr. Miller did not see this..

Joe
Joe

It's funny if someone had not brought this to my attention I would have never read it. I guess that explains why this article is written here. Seems to me that I will not believe anything that is posted on this site because apparently they hire idiots for writers.

Tim
Tim

DISGUSTING ARTICLE FROM A DISGUSTING WRITER!!!!!!!!!!!

James
James

Those quotes were totally taken out of context. You are such a fool! Rollins is an awesome place with awesome students. Did you not accepted Miller? Is that why all the Hate?????Sorry losers like you should definietely be drinking up during Spring Break -or do you do that all of the time? I guess losers like you do!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Marisol
Marisol

It is sad that a loser like Miller, a writer in a pathetic news blog, feels that he can live up to even relating to students who care enough for others to give up their time to help those who need it. It is hilarious that you think that this is even worth posting. All I can say is that I am THRILLED that I don't know you because there is no way in this world that I would ever relate to a loser like you Mr. Miller!!!!!

ana
ana

The irrevelant photo to accompany this immature article is a fantastic representation of your amateur journalism, Mr. Miller.

Martha
Martha

This article is completely offensive and insensitive. I applaud the students for trying to learn about immigrants and their realities... but this article is completely condescending AND insulting!

COBRA
COBRA

Rollins College is the best college in the state of FL. The people you meet there, the professors who teach, the overall surrounding environment, the beauty of the campus, everything is a million times better than any other institution FL has to offer. Say what you want about how these kids aren't getting plastered and wasting their lives doing what you think is the definition of a good time, they are upstanding and deserve tons of respect for giving up their week of relaxation to bust their ass doing something like this. Big ups RollieColli Fiat Lux 4 Life Long Live the Fox.

ana
ana

*irrelevant

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