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Campus empties as spring break nears

Maureen Mullen | Friday, March 10, 2006

On the last day before spring break, Notre Dame students are packing their bags, jumping in cars, trains and planes and heading en masse, it seems, to warm weather.

Anthony Travel, which arranged spring break plans for over 500 ND/SMC students, has had an especially busy past few weeks, said President and CEO John Anthony.

The travel agency’s leisure manager, Kayleen Carr, said cruises were popular among upperclassmen this year.

Mexico is also a common destination, and Anthony Travel helped students arrange to spend the week in Cozumel, Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas, Acapulco and Cancun. Some students worked with Anthony Travel and booked reservations at resort in the Bahamas and Jamaica, Carr said.

However, he said Mexico is the most popular location, since it is usually less expensive than the Caribbean, and Mexican resorts and hotels often offer a variety of all-inclusive packages.

Anthony, who has been running the travel agency since 1991, said he finds the change in spring break trends over the years interesting.

“What used to be bus trips to Florida became charter flights to Cancun which has now become cruises,” Anthony said.

Senior Katie Hanafin made plans through Anthony Travel to go on a week-long Carnival Cruise to the Caribbean with three of her friends. They plan to spend Saturday night in Miami, Hanafin said, and then leave on the ship Sunday.

Hanafin said she was told Anthony Travel reserved a group of cabins on the ship, so a large group of Notre Dame students is expected to be aboard. The ship makes three stops at Costa Maya, Grand Cayman and Ochos Rios.

“This will be my first spring break that I’ve taken with a large group of friends,” she said. “I can’t wait to get by the pool and relax in the sun. I might even splurge and get a massage … why not?”

Many students, however, arranged their own break plans and are using the time to travel and visit with friends. Sophomore Corey Collins is from Vero Beach, Florida, a small beach town on the coast. She said she plans to go home for the break and bring her roommates along.

“The weather at home is predicted to be 75 or 80 [degrees] – [a] perfect time for people to come visit Florida,” Collins said.

Other students intend to visit relatives during the break. Junior Emily Weisbecker will be flying to Green Valley, Ariz. to visit her grandmother, she said.

“I’ve gone on more exciting spring break trips before and I usually end up needing a break from the break by the end,” Weisbecker said of her relatively low-key plans. “So, I’m looking forward to the chance to sleep and see the sun.”

There are yet other students who have made some rather unconventional spring break plans. Instead of the usual Mexico experience, senior James Fink will go on an adventure of another type. He said he plans to go camping in the lower Appalachians in Ga. with a group of friends.

Fink describes himself as an “avid camper” and said, “I’ve been camping on the last four or five mid-semester breaks. I’ve been itching to get into the woods since it first started thawing.”

Like Fink, sophomore Kevin Faist also has plans for a different type of spring break trip. He said he, along with eight members of the Notre Dame Climbing Club, will fly to Smith Rock, Ore. to rock climb.

Though they welcome the break from classes and routine, some students will be remaining on campus next week. Senior Luke Hoover, a manager for the women’s basketball team, will be staying on campus in order to fulfill his responsibilities to the squad.

“I’ll be spending my spring break like a real man … writing poetry and doing laundry for 10 women,” Hoover said.