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USD AWOL announces winter break service-learning destinations

VERMILLION, S.D. -- Students from the University of South Dakota will assist families in need in Texas; work with conservationists and environmentalists at the Florida Everglades and help New Orleans neighborhoods affected by Hurricane Isaac and other natural disasters during winter break service-learning trips. A fourth winter break trip will also take students to serve in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, working with children in poverty.

The student-led service-learning group, Alternative Week of Off-campus Learning (AWOL), recently announced these winter break destinations. Applications are now available for students at Faculty, staff and graduate assistants interested in participating as learning partners should email

AWOL Honduras will construct homes and schools, mentor and tutor children, and perform basic health screenings. The AWOL Dallas group will assist Bryan’s House, a non-profit organization founded in Dallas that provides medically-managed child care, respite care, and community-based support services. Participants will also mentor and teach children, collect and sort donations, complete facility maintenance, and prepare Bryan’s House for its holiday fundraiser.

AWOL New Orleans will work with the Beacon of Hope Resource Center to revitalize neighborhoods and support disaster relief efforts, including urban landscaping, painting, neighborhood clean-ups and small scale construction projects. AWOL Florida Everglades will assist with environmental conservation and protection service work in parks and wildlife sanctuaries such as Everglades National Park, Biscayne National Park, Florida Keys Wild Bird Center, Homestead Soup Kitchen, and John Pennekamp State Park.

Prior to traveling, AWOL volunteers receive six weeks of training and learning. AWOL provides students with educational service-learning experiences through exposure to diverse social issues. Faculty, staff and graduate assistant learning partners provide mentoring and cooperation with students to connect AWOL service to their academic goals. AWOL students and learning partners come from all USD departments and the programs are open to all volunteers. For more information, please visit or email


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 78 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.

This material is available in an alternate format upon request. Please contact University Relations at 605-677-5759. If you are a person with a disability and need a special accommodation to fully participate in any university activity or event, please contact Disability Services at 605-677-6389 as soon as possible, but no later than 48 hours before the event, so that appropriate arrangements may be made.


Hanna DeLange
USD News