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SMC organization hosts fall break ‘stay-cation’

| Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Saint Mary’s Office for Civic and Social Engagement (OCSE) will hold a “stay-cation” for students staying on campus for fall break.

“The stay-cation is an opportunity for people who are in South Bend for break to enjoy participating in activities and opportunities here in South Bend,” director of the OCSE Rebekah DeLine said.

A survey conducted earlier this semester indicated about 35 students are planning to stay on campus during fall break. Between 20 and 25 students expressed an interest in participating in the stay-cation, with about 20 students expected to participate each day.

Events start Sunday afternoon and will be held through Thursday. Students can register for individual days or for the entire program but are asked to commit to the full day.

“[The stay-cation] will be a mix of fun excursions, some service and a lot of community-building around meals,” DeLine said.

Excursions include a canoeing trip down the St. Joseph river, a scavenger hunt, zip-lining and visits to a corn maze and pumpkin patch. The College will host service projects by partnering with local organizations such as an animal shelter and Unity Gardens. Other events, such as a movie night and spa time, will be held on campus.

Meals will be a significant part of the stay-cation. Participants will have the opportunity to try different establishments within the city, as well as one home-cooked meal.

“We’re even going to have one meal where we’re going to a local alum’s house because I thought it was important to include a homemade meal,” DeLine said.

DeLine said her office is in the process of working with community partners to keep costs low for activities. The overhead is currently being covered with combined funding from the OCSE and the Office of Student Affairs.

“From the students, we are asking for a suggested donation of $5 a day to participate, but because we don’t want cost to be a factor in somebody participating, if a student can’t afford that, they don’t have to pay anything at all,” DeLine said.

DeLine said the idea for the stay-cation came to her last year when she saw last year when she saw students on campus over the course of the break.

“The dining hall was closed, so not only were they stuck on campus, but they were stuck on campus without meals,” DeLine said.

This finding troubled DeLine, prompting her interest in improving the experience for these students. She wanted them to feel like they were getting a vacation, even while still on campus.

“I decided I wanted to do something by offering the students who were here already an opportunity to get to get together, eat meals together and bond over their staying here,” DeLine said. “I wanted it to be something to actually celebrate.”

Registration for the stay-cation can be done via a Google form emailed to students. Registration closes Thursday at 6 p.m.

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