By Christina Potenza (history of art and architecture, and psychology majors; minors in exercise science and education)
Community service has always been important to me and I knew that I wanted to get involved in more service learning activities in college. When I moved into my residence hall in my first year year, I saw a sign posted about PittServes Alternative Spring Break program and I knew that I wanted to participate.
During my first alternative spring break, I worked to build a hiking trail on the Cumberland Trails in Tennessee. The work was difficult, but I met people I would not have had the chance to meet otherwise. The trip to the Cumberland Trails showed me just how interconnected everyone at Pitt really is. Even though it was only my second term on campus, I found that almost everyone on the trip knew other people I knew.
Originally I was concerned about funding, but the opportunities through PittServes are extremely affordable, even when they involve traveling.
In my second year, I chose to spend my alternative spring break locally, giving back to the Pittsburgh community. While I loved the experience of going to Tennessee, it was important to me that I start giving back to a city that I feel has given me so much. I worked in the Hill District on a variety of different small-scale service projects. I found this experience to be extremely beneficial because it connected me to the resources I needed to get more involved in the city. I also got to meet a lot of Pitt students with different majors and interests.