For spring break, 10 Colby students went to St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands to help with environmental conservation work in U.S. Virgin Islands National Park. We camped all week at Cinnamon Bay Campground in tents on platforms just a two minute walk from the beautiful sand beach. Each morning, our volunteer coordinator, Nick, who works for Friends of Virgin Islands National Park, would pick us up and take us to our work site in the park service van. Most of our work involved cutting branches and removing brush that disrupted trails throughout the park, specifically on l’esperance trail. Our first day, however, was my favorite. We drove to a spot on a more secluded road, and met with the National Park Service archeology crew. We followed them through the forest, ducking under trees because the old danish roads that dated back to the 1700s were completely overgrown. We eventually came across ruins of a former plantations, where the archeology group was collecting items, such as old glass bottles and pottery, and taking measurements to try to have this site added to the national registry of historic places. Our job was to cut small plants and trees that hindered their ability to take measurements and photographs, which are necessary to register this site. With all of us working together, we were able to accomplished what was needed in a short period of time. At the end of the day we were hot and exhausted, but we rewarded ourselves with some swimming and snorkeling back at Cinnamon Bay. The rest of the week continued in a similar fashion, with trail work throughout the day and some swimming and relaxing later in the afternoon. The members of the group fed off of one another’s excitement as we stayed motivated despite bug bites and physical fatigue. We bonded over roasted marshmellows and learned some new drumming skills. We even were able to visit the Virgin Islands Environmental Research Station and see a museum dedicated to the NASA tektite project that took place there. It was an exciting week exploring a new environment and efforts to better understand and protect it. By the end of the week we had cleared numerous areas for recreation within the park service, keeping them as sacrificial corridors for visitor enjoyment, so that the rest of the park would remain intact and protected.


This past week, a group of ten Colby students with an eclectic mix of class years, majors and backgrounds traveled to Nicaragua through the CVC’s Alternative Spring Break (ASB) program. The group spent the week building the foundation of a small school in a small rural community called Las Cebitas, about 45 minutes outside of the capital of Managua. After helping local masons by digging six-foot holes, mixing dozens of loads of concrete, and bending countless meters of rebar, the group had the opportunity to visit Nicaraguan historical sites including the former national palace, the Sandino memorial, and Coyotepe, a 19th century fortress used as political prison and torture chamber by the Somoza regime up until the early 1980’s. Even more than volunteering their time and learning about the history and culture of the beautiful Central American nation, the group enjoyed the opportunity to get to know the people of Las Cebitas by working side-by-side the masons and playing with their kids. Each and every Colby student on the trip was profoundly impacted by the experience and (reluctantly) left Nicaragua with a new understanding of both the culture and people of the area and the global processes of inequality and service.

The journey to Las Cebitas, however, began long before the group departed Mayflower Hill towards Logan. The group has been engaged in educational seminars led by Colby Professors and staff in order to be better prepared to reflect on their experience in Nicaragua. In addition, one of the goals of ASB is to offer the experience to all Colby students regardless of their socio-economic situation. The CVC is able to do this principally through the Goldfarb Center ASB Financial Aid Initiative, and with strong support from the Latin-American Studies Department, Student Government Association, Campus Life, and the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation. The group raised their remaining fee through bottle drives and coat checks on campus and through various off-campus donors. The trip would not have been possible without the contributions of these parties, and the participants are incredibly grateful for this support.

If you would like to learn more about leading and participating in Alternative Spring Break next year, please contact cvc@colby.edu.

On Friday, the Best Buddies headed to Sparetime to go bowling! After grabbing our bowling shoes, we picked our lanes and started playing. We took a quick break for some delicious french fries and soda. With a lot of spares and strikes and subsequent excitement, everybody seemed to really enjoy bowling!

Inland Hospital met last Tuesday as a group to discuss how the program was going and to answer any questions people may have. This dinner was an initiative by the program leaders to strengthen community within the Inland Hospital program.

Inland Hospital Group

The South End Teen Center (SETC) volunteer program kicked off the spring semester with another visit to campus for our second “Kids on the Hill” event with the Colby-Waterville Alliance in February. The group of teens, staff, and volunteers stayed toasty-warm inside and played a game of Apples to Apples followed by dinner in Bobs. We hope to hold one or two more “Kids on the Hill” events this year since we’ve received such positive feedback from the teens and staff.

The SETC volunteer program has been very lucky this semester to welcome several new volunteers, including nine students from Marilyn Preston’s Children and Adolescents in School and Society course. These students will be working with the teens to create an audio documentary about what it’s like to be a teen in Waterville in today’s society.

In other news, pictures that the teens took during their February break trips to the Human Society and snowshoeing have been entered into a local photography contest (see below). We have some very strong contenders and hopefully someone from the SETC will bring home the prize!

In another exciting development, the SETC has been entered into Bangor Savings Bank Community Matters More contest. If the SETC receives the most votes in the Central Maine category, they will win $5000 to put towards renovations and new programming! A huge thank you to all of you who cast a vote for the SETC!

 Teen Center Photography contest

Last Sunday, Colby volunteers helped out at the dog sledding event at Viles Arboretum in Augusta as part of a partnership with Heywood Kennel Sled Dog Adventures. Colby students shoveled the path to ensure smooth rides for the guests.  Two of these students, Victoria Feng and Darcy Ahern, are even featured in a WABI TV5 video about the event. To learn even more about the event, check out this article from 92 Moose.

We just wanted to thank all you brave volunteers who came to the Polar Bear Dip last Saturday and took the plunge into the freezing outdoor pool! Not counting day of sign-ups, we had 58 students sign ups. In addition to the football team, we had around 30 Colby students. We surpassed our fundraising goal, raising over $200. Thanks again to everybody who made this event such a success!

The Colby Football Team’s Blue Team Community raised over $400 and had 19 members participate at the Polar Bear Dip.  Here are a couple more photos courtesy of the football team:

To learn more about the Polar Bear Dip, check out this article by Danielle Waugh of WCSH 6 Portland by clicking HERE.

Paw Pals volunteers enjoy going to the shelter, not just to help out, but as a great way to get off campus and get to interact with some animals who could really use the attention. For students missing their pets at home, this is the perfect combination of fun and public service. The flexibility of the program also adds to its appeal, because students can go whenever they like, for as long as they like. With the newly set up carpool system we are hoping to facilitate more trips to the shelter as well as fostering better communication and friendship between volunteers in the program.
Enthusiastic Paw Pals volunteer Allison Polchinski '13 throws a ball for loveable Pitbull Terrier "Jackson" while helping out at the Waterville Humane Society

Enthusiastic Paw Pals volunteer Allison Polchinski ’13 throws a ball for loveable Pitbull Terrier “Jackson” while helping out at the Waterville Humane Society