Skip to main content

KNOXVILLE—Harnessing the volunteer spirit, several groups of University of Tennessee, Knoxville, students are forgoing a week of R&R and rolling up their sleeves to help others in Knoxville, across the country, and even abroad.


Two groups of twenty students will head to St. Louis and Morgantown, West Virginia, where they’ll tackle a variety of service projects, including volunteering at a botanical garden, working at recycling center that sells refurbished electronics to the less fortunate, performing in a talent show at a children’s hospital, and lending a hand at a food pantry, a Boys and Girls Club, the Salvation Army, and an animal shelter.

The 2012 school year marks the nineteenth year TeamVOLS has sponsored alternative spring break trips. The groups will depart from the staff parking lot across the street from the Allan Jones Intercollegiate Aquatics Center on Volunteer Boulevard at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday, March 18.

Since 1993, the TeamVOLS Volunteer Center has organized alternative break trips to cities across the United States “to engage students in affordable, meaningful, and collaborative community service in an effort to increase awareness of social issues and strengthen the communities in which they serve, as well as foster a strong sense of community among trip participants and to the university as a whole.”

Increased student interest resulted in TeamVOLS getting three times as many applications as it could handle this year. The organization is already working on plans for next year, planning even more ways students can serve during both fall and spring breaks.

College of Nursing

Clinical Assistant Professor Karen Lasater will lead twenty-four students and four faculty members from the College of Nursing as they travel to Costa Rica for the college’s annual international health care trip.

The group departed this morning from McGhee Tyson Airport.

In Costa Rica, students will attend a one-day seminar presented by a local physician regarding topics such as tropical medicine, local dietary habits, local customs, and a review of Spanish for health care workers. Students will then work six to eight hours a day providing nursing care in medical clinics, working in community health centers and a long-term care facility for terminally ill children, and visiting patients at home.

The students will provide free services and medications to adults and children experiencing commonly occurring acute and chronic illnesses.

This service-learning and immersion experience engages students in meaningful activities that address human and community needs through structured opportunities designed to promote student learning and development. These experiences provide students with the opportunity to develop cultural competency and a global perspective and enhance their understanding of nursing concepts.

College of Law

This marks the first year that the College of Law has organized alternative spring break programs. In all, thirty-two students will participate in the various projects.

One group of students will go to Memphis to work with the Community Legal Center’s Immigrant Justice Program. They will help domestic violence victims in need of renewed visas. UT students teamed up with law students from Old Miss and the University of Memphis to offer this three-week program, with each university working during its spring break.

Another group will spend two days in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, conducting a “Wills for Warriors” program. Students will help current military personnel get their will, estate planning, and power of attorney in order.

The group heading to Fort Campbell will depart from the College of Law building at 2:00 p.m. Sunday, March 18, and will return Wednesday.

The group heading to Memphis will meet at the College of Law building at 6:15 a.m. Monday, March 19, and will return Friday.

Locally, students will be doing legal research and other volunteer work for Legal Aid of East Tennessee and CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), a children’s advocacy organization in Knoxville.

Tyson House

Thirty-one students from Tyson House—the campus’s Episcopal/Lutheran campus ministry—will be volunteering in Washington, DC, at the nation’s largest homeless shelter, the Community for Creative Non-violence.

The trip has been organized entirely by students, from raising money for the trip to finding host families in the DC area. Students also have organized other activities for the group, including a visit to the Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations, a tour of the Holocaust Museum, and a trip to the offices of Bread for the World, an organization that looks at how political action can help those living in extreme poverty.

Students will meet at Tyson House at 9:00 a.m. Saturday, March 17. They will then be shuttled to the Knoxville Transit Center downtown to take the Megabus to Washington. The bus departs at 11:00 a.m.

C O N T A C T :

Rebekah Winkler (865-974-8304,

Stephanie Dixon (865-974-2225,