Norwich Students Take Alternative Spring Break Trip

A group of students and staff members from Norwich University had an interesting spring break this year. Instead of heading for fun in the sun, they set out for Rutland, Mass., to take care of a group of goats, cows, chickens, water buffaloes and a yak.

The Norwich group traveled to Rutland, to assist with farm chores and participate in educational workshops at Heifer Project International's
Overlook Farm. The trip was an alternative spring break program designed to help Norwich students place service above self.

Overlook Farm is a livestock holding and training facility for Heifer Project International. Heifer International is a humanitarian assistance organization that provides livestock and training to improve the quality of life of people in more than 120 different countries. Those who benefit agree to pass on animal offspring and training to others.

In early March, the main barn at the farm was heavily damaged by fire. So the group also did some work on the massive 8,000 sq. ft. structure. Student leader Dennis Orwat said, "We helped salvage some usable materials and clear away debris, so they could finish rebuilding."

The trip was part of the University's NU VISIONS; Alternative Break initiative, led by Nicole DiDomenico, Director of Volunteer Programs at Norwich. The idea is to introduce some of the participants to what she calls the, "circle of service."

"These trips help give students a sense of belonging," DiDomenico said. "By helping others in need you realize what kind of a difference you can make as an individual. It gives you a whole new outlook and enthusiasm in your relationship to other people," she added.