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Fifteen University of Wisconsin Oshkosh students will opt not to embark on a traditional vacation and instead will spend the week of March 21 working at a homeless shelter in Washington, D.C.

Students registered for the Alternative Spring Break (ASB) trip will lodge at the Father McKenna homeless shelter, sleeping on church pews. Throughout the week, the group will volunteer at SOME (So Others Might Eat), a soup kitchen; the Capital Area Food Bank; and the Father McKenna Center.

The ASB group has been working on planning the trip since November 2009. The experience is designed to give students an in-depth look at poverty in the nation’s capital.

“What excites me about the ASB trip is the people we are going to meet, the stories we are going to hear and the lessons we are going to be able to take from this experience,” said Katie Prom, a UW Oshkosh sophomore and student trip leader from Janesville.

The theme “Eat to Live, Not Live to Eat” was adopted for this trip. During the stay, the group will reflect on this theme to identify ways to address the issue of poverty in the Oshkosh community upon their return to campus.

“I hope that from this experience I will learn how something like hunger and extreme poverty can happen in a place like our nation’s capital. I want to learn about the widening poverty gap and learn what I can do to help the situation either here at home or on a larger scale,” said Kati Hinds, a junior and student trip leader from Milwaukee.

In addition, community members can track the daily progress of the group on their blog at The blog will be updated daily, and the group will be able to receive comments made during the trip. Additional information about the trip can be found at

For more information about the trip or to make a donation, call Mike Lueder at (920) 424-1269 or visit the UW Oshkosh Reeve Memorial Union administrative offices at 748 Algoma Blvd.

Last year, 18 students traveled to Biloxi, Miss., for Alternative Spring Break to help rebuild homes and revive hope for families affected by Hurricane Katrina.

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