Live Blogging SBA Day One

March 3, 2008

The following events summarize the first day of Spring Break Alternative 2008.

12:30 p.m. E.S.T. - The “SoDak” SBA group met at the Romero Center in Lower Cushing Center for a last minute overview of what to expect in the day ahead. As other groups departed, some delayed by weather, busy SoDak’ers took time to send each group off into the snow.

2:30 p.m. E.S.T. - On Interstate 93 en-route to Boston Logan Airport - After filling a hallway with luggage, SBA South Dakota loaded into two white passenger vans for the drive to Boston, chauffeured by Campus Ministry Director, Sue Gabert, and two SBA-Maine participants.

3:50 p.m. E.S.T. - Boston Logan Airport - During check-in at the Northwest Airlines ticket counter, SoDak encountered a contingent of - who would have guessed - Saint Anselm College faculty on their way to Rome. After causing minor chaos to the ticket counter staff with our large group, we were off to the security checkpoint, where we said good bye to Sue.

4:40 p.m. E.S.T. - Boston Logan Airport - The group is now awaiting the boarding call for our flight to Minneapolis. Sitting in the concourse, we just watched two fellow Saint Anselm College students walk by on their way to their spring break destination: the Caribbean.

6:01 p.m. E.S.T. - In the skies over Boston, Mass. - As the sun sets over the city of Boston, our flight is off the ground and bound for Minneapolis, Minn. The group is spread throughout the plane, but from my seat I can see several participants reading, listening to music and napping. Group leaders, Kristen and Sarah, report they have been awake nearly 48 hours at this point, with only short naps to keep them going.

8:06 p.m. C.S.T. - In the skies over Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn. - As we prepared for landing, our flight crossed over the Mississippi River and expansive suburbs of the Twin Cities on our final approach to the airport. A row behind me, English Professor Denise Askin, who is accompanying this trip as a participant, was paging through a copy of Black Elk Speaks, an account described as “a book of visions of an American Indian Black Elk” as told by author John Neihardt. At Saint Anselm, Askin offers a freshman course in English called “Native American voices” and was invited to join with the group for the trip.

8:45 p.m. C.S.T. - From Terminal F of MSP - Students have made a beeline for a quick bite to eat during our layover in Minneapolis. Showing their culture, a majority of the students returned with sushi, salads, and sandwiches rather than something fried. Boarding has just been announced for the final leg of our flight to Rapid City, South Dakota.

9:25 p.m. C.S.T. - In the skies over Minneapolis - We are “wheels up” from Minneapolis, en-route to Rapid City. As the plane banks away from Minneapolis, the partially filled cabin is full of chatter from Saint Anselm students conversing amongst themselves, and making friends with other passengers. During the longer flight from Boston to Minneapolis, a number of the flying public clearly became quite familiar with this trip, as more than once students were wished good luck and encouraged to make the most of their experience upon deplaning.

9:38 p.m. C.S.T. - In the skies over southwestern Minnesota - The flight deck just informed the passengers of Northwest Flight 1203 that the current temperature in Rapid City is 64 degrees at 8:39 p.m. local time. For a group that had its trip departure delayed by a snowstorm earlier in the day, this is nothing short of amazing!

10:20 p.m. M.S.T. - In the parking lot of the Rapid City, South Dakota Airport - After a turbulent arrival, we picked up our luggage (it all made it!) and the group made final arrangements for the pending two-plus hour drive to Pine Ridge.

As we stepped outside to pack our four minivans parked curbside, we were greeted with tumbleweed blowing across the walkway. Clearing the side of the building, SBA SoDak received its welcome: the winds of the plains. Strong enough to not only whip everyone about, the gusts actually took several people off their feet, sending them tumbling into the nearby grass.

10:42 p.m. M.S.T. - On the road in Farmingdale, S.D. - After a long day of travel, unpredictable and out-of-control weather, and excitement, four vans are rolling south out of Rapid City en-route to Pine Ridge.

1:31 a.m. M.S.T. - Following a drive that took the group through the badlands - twice - the minivan convoy arrived at Pine Ridge. The highly regarded “Tom,” the Executive Director here at Re-Member, was at the front door to greet the leery-eyed travelers as they arrived. Following brief opening remarks, and a quick orientation of what to expect tomorrow (today now…) participants were sent on their way to unpack, settle into bunks and get a few hours of rest.

2:05 a.m. M.S.T. - Lights out - for a few hours. To the Saint Anselm Students, with the time change, it feels like shortly after 4 a.m.

Follow Spring Break Alternative from South Dakota

March 3, 2008

Welcome to the Spring Break Alternative (SBA) “SoDak” Blog. In the coming week, I will travel with, and report on a group of Saint Anselm College students who are volunteering with “Re-Member,” a group based in Pine Ridge, South Dakota on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

Each year, Saint Anselm College, through the office of Campus Ministry, has been sending students to sites across the United States, and abroad to spend their spring break in an alternative fashion from the traditional warm and sunny beaches.

Students work with host organizations at each site, doing everything from building bunk beds to serving in soup kitchens. This year, groups are traveling to locations ranging from Costa Rica, to Maine, Louisiana and South Dakota. In full, some 200 Saint Anselm students will be participating in the program this year.

So sit back, and enjoy the experience of being an extended part of SBA: SoDak!

*****

An introduction to your reporter: A member of the Class of 2009 and a Politics major from Augusta, Maine, Cory True is a new media reporter for the Saint Anselm College Office of College Communications and Marketing.

In a first for Saint Anselm College, Cory will report on this SBA trip as an “embedded reporter.” Loaded down with eight bags of equipment, Cory will feature the day-to-day work of the group while capturing the broader experience via audio, video, photography and extensive blogging.

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