Alternative Spring Break in Taos

Students participating in the Alternative Spring Break trip to Taos, N.M., are partnering with Taos Habitat for Humanity to help build a home. During the week, they’ll stay at the SMU-in-Taos campus at Fort Burgwin and will have the chance to take a break on the slopes.

The opportunity of a lifetime

An update from Bryan, site leader and senior engineering major:

Well, I didn’t get to write as much as I liked, mainly because the computer lab was too far to walk and I was usually exhausted from the day’s work. But, in the end, I had the best spring break possible!

It was completely amazing – from building the houses, hearing the stories of the families that will move into the houses, the relationships I made with students and faculty, and even the 12-hour car rides, this ASB trip was a huge success in my eyes. I enjoyed it so much, I have decided to postpone a trip to Israel so I can work at the
SMU-in-Taos campus over the summer as a resident assistant, and this is after I have graduated!

This trip confirms my love for SMU and all of the opportunities it provides the students. I have known for a while now that I am going to stay involved with the SMU community after graduation; this trip just justifies my reasoning behind my future involvement.

If you have ever thought about going on an ASB trip, don’t even hesitate: apply and take the chance, because you will miss an opportunity of a lifetime if you don’t.

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Amazing memories and friendships

An update from Kat, a junior advertising major and psychology minor:

What a week it was! We all made it back to Dallas last night just after 10 pm. The road back home seemed so much shorter than the way there; it was definitely due to the friendships we all developed with one another.

I can’t believe the week is already over. It seemed so much shorter than it really was. Alternative Spring Break was the best decision I made for a trip for Spring Break. I think it is a great opportunity for anyone to not only serve those in need, but to also develop sincere friendships. The people I met on this trip have been wonderful. We have formed some pretty amazing memories – from becoming excellent stucco-ers, our adobe assembly line, to the fun of skiing in Taos Ski Valley.

It was wonderful to meet 15 other students who were so in love with serving others and doing it with their full heart. Each of the students and the advisers have a place in my heart. Words really don’t describe what went on and remains from this trip!

The two families we helped were so wonderful. The sheer look of joy in their eyes when we had dinner with them on Thursday was amazing. It feels so good to know that we helped make their dream of having their own home come true. Not only were the two families awesome, but the people we worked with were wonderful as well. I cannot believe the week ended that quick!

I am still in awe of the snow! Coming from Dallas (where it never really never snows) I felt like a little girl when I first saw the snow! It came above my knees in most parts of the campus!! Not to mention the snow on the mountains when we went skiing.

Spring%20Break%20-%20ASB%20Taos%2C%20NM%20134.JPGI definitely recommend students apply to ASB next year. It was such an awesome opportunity; I am so glad I decided to apply this year. And I cannot wait to go back next year! Taos is such a beautiful place! Just looking at all the mountains around us gave me energy every day.

The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, nor the kindly smile nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when he discovers that someone else believes in him and is willing to trust him. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Until next time. Thank you all for your love and your service and the time we shared together.

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An opportunity – and blessing – to serve

An update from Erika, a junior political science/public policy major:

Coming to Taos for ASB has been absolutely incredible. I cannot fully explain in this short space how much fun I’ve had thus far … but, of course, I’m going to attempt to do so!

I knew that I wanted to go on an ASB trip this year, but I wasn’t sure which one would suit me best. I had heard amazing things about SMU students who had been to Taos, and I’ve always loved Habitat for Humanity, so the Taos trip seemed like a good fit. Little did I know how wonderful of a fit it would turn out to be.

I am having an amazing time! Taos is beautiful. I had no idea that the scenery would be so breathtaking, and it really is breathtaking. The site on which we’re building is surrounded by snow-covered mountains! It’s difficult to complain about sore muscles and a lack of sleep when you look up and see peaks towering above you! It definitely puts everything into perspective.

Even more important than the beauty of Taos, though, is the indescribable joy that comes with serving others. We’ve spent three days on site – stuccoing, sawing, hammering, building, cleaning – and have one day left. When we’re finished, two families will be even closer to moving into their homes!

We’re having dinner with the families tomorrow evening, and I cannot wait to get to know them. What a blessing to be able to give. As the saying goes, “To whom much is given, much is required.” I have to say, though, that what we’re doing here in Taos doesn’t feel like a requirement; it instead feels like an opportunity. We’re privileged to be here, and I couldn’t be happier.

On top of the landscape and the joy of service is the blessing of friendship. I have met some amazing people in Taos, most of whom go to SMU. We’ve meshed as a group and have already started discussing dinner plans for when we get back to Dallas! I’m so excited about the many friendships that have begun here!

As you can probably tell, I’m pretty thrilled to be here in Taos this week! If you’re an SMU student, I hope that you’ll consider ASB for next year. I regret that this is my first trip! Also, go to Taos for a semester! The SMU-in-Taos campus is tucked in the mountains and beautiful.

That’s all for tonight. I’m exhausted; muscles are aching that I wasn’t aware existed! It’s more than worth it though. Have a great night!

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Road to Taos

Daniel, a senior mathematics and management science major, writes:

For the last three years, I have always wanted to participate in Alternative Spring Break. ASB is an amazing opportunity for college students to spend their spring break giving back to the community. This year, SMU had four different trips, including the one to Taos, N.M. I was very excited to apply and get accepted to this amazing opportunity for a number of reasons. First, I have always wanted to visit our SMU-in-Taos campus. Second, I have always wanted to participate in ASB. This spring break – I get to do both.

In fact, this week will be many firsts for me. It will be my first time to visit the SMU campus in Taos. In fact, we are the first group of students to visit Taos this early in the year. We will be skiing on Friday (that’s another first).

dliu%20222.jpgHere’s a short snippet from my journal that I jotted down on the 12-hour drive from Dallas:

dliu%20307.jpgAs we began our ascent to Taos, the landscape around us quickly transformed from red valleys and plateaus into a winter wonderland. I’ve never seen snow blowing horizontally in what Kelli describes as ‘fluffy powdery goodness.’ I am reminded of the time when I was with my family at Yosemite National Park in January. Seeing white blanket the mountainside is truly a peaceful sight! Inside the warmth of our white SMU-decaled van, I am growing restless. Mainly because I am tired of sitting in a van for so long, but also because I am ready to get out and explore!

Tomorrow morning, I will be up at 6:30 to help cook breakfast. We’ve got eggs, sausage, etc. on the menu. At 8, we will be heading out to our site location for our build. Look forward to more details on the Habitat project that we will be doing.

But now, I am heading to bed – dreaming of the wonderful beauty of Taos, SMU, and snowball fights.

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Hello, from Taos

Site leader Bryan, a senior engineering student, writes:

Hello, everyone, wishing you were with our ASB group in beautiful Taos, NM!

We arrived after what seemed like a very short ride, probably because most of us were asleep, and got right into learning the ropes of the SMU-in-Taos campus, which is extremely white and beautiful.

Everyone has moved into their Casita (living quarters), and we are settling in just fine. Tomorrow we will wake up early and head over to the site for Habitat for Humanity, which we will be building with for the next four days. Then, we will be skiing on Taos Mountain (rough life, I know).

I can’t wait for this great experience, I’m just going to go to bed right now. Take care and I’ll write soon.

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