The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Spring break a service to the community

Staff Editorial | Friday, March 10, 2006

With midterms behind them and anticipation building for a week filled with fun in the sun – or on the couch at home – students are leaving in droves for spring break. But this year, a greater number are leaving the University with a different purpose in mind from the spring break norm – service around the nation and the world.

The Center for Social Concerns has led the charge, offering students the opportunity to participate in various seminars around the country – including New Orleans, still recovering from hurricane damage. The CSC Appalachia Seminar, one of the most popular opportunities, has drawn 150 participants this year. All of these CSC seminars are touted as programs devoted to learning as well as service. Organizers even referred to their primary goal to “make the world a classroom.”

College is a stepping point to the real world, offering lessons in how to live as well as how to learn. With all the papers, tests and presentations that consume our everyday lives, it becomes all the more important to consider another Notre Dame responsibility, one that falls outside the borders of DeBartolo Hall and the Hesburgh Library – a life of service.

Notre Dame students are certainly no strangers to service projects or helping local communities. They’ve poured in hours of time and effort in high school and college, balancing a full courseload while generously giving their time.

The phrase “Catholic character” has been used in academic forums and campus discussions countless times this semester. The University’s commitment to service opportunities continues to be a defining characteristic of this phrase. As one of the world’s leading Catholic universities, Notre Dame has always expected its graduates to give generously of their time and resources – and continues to do so.

After a long eight weeks of school, you can’t fault students for wanting to return home to family members or travel with friends. They’ve earned the rest. But those who have chosen to devote what little vacation time they have in service to others should be commended. It’s a reflection of the University’s high goals for its students. By fostering a social responsibility that tempers all the talents our students show every day in the classroom, the Notre Dame community continues to abundantly display the “Catholic character” that we have all heard so much about.