Students engage in spring Breakout Princeton service trips

April 5, 2018 9:30 a.m.

Over spring break, more than 100 Princeton students explored critical social issues in communities across the U.S. and on campus through Breakout Princeton and Breakout Local with the Pace Center for Civic Engagement.

As part of Breakout Princeton’s student-led trips, students learned about immigration in Arizona, gentrification in Trenton, mental illness in Philadelphia, gun violence in Detroit, health care and immigration in Philadelphia, and land use in New Hampshire. On campus, students, staff and faculty teamed up to take part in Breakout Local through Butler College’s mural project with Trenton artist Will Kasso. The mural is part of the University’s Campus Iconography project.

Read more about what students experienced on the Breakout Princeton blog and learn about some of the highlights of the week below.

In the Shadows of the Border: The Politics (and Realities) of Immigration Enforcement in Southern Arizona

Conceived and planned with Ali Valenzuela, assistant professor of politics, and David Cortez, a postdoctoral research associate in the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, this trip set out to build greater understanding of the complex web of community and special interest groups, local and federal law enforcement agencies, and policymakers on the frontlines of immigration in southern Arizona.

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Debbie from Tuscan Samaritans speaking to students
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Students in Arizona
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handwritten bible
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Debbie McCullough, who leads Tucson Samaritans with her husband Ed, talks to students about the group’s work dropping water at trail locations for migrants.

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Student participants of the In the Shadows of the Border trip team.

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McCullough collects found objects — journals, discarded shoes, bibles, water jugs — to commemorate migrant stories. 

 

A Public Health Approach to Violence: Investigating Gun Violence as a Public Health Issue in Detroit

This Breakout Princeton trip sought to gain a better understanding of the ways in which health services are provided to people of low socioeconomic status and how these services impact complex social issues, such as gun violence. Students explored the role poverty plays in urban violence with Magaly Sanchez-R, a researcher with the Office of Population Research at Princeton, prior to the trip, and connected with politicians, advocacy organizations, educators and more in Detroit.

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Students walking through red steel arch in Detroit
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Mural of running girl on Detroit building
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Students in Detroit
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Students explore downtown Detroit. “The truth is that this city is really composed of old and new buildings,” said Emerson Thomas, a sophomore. “There are areas that are developing and those that remain in poverty. I just hope people can see that, instead of only picturing Detroit as one or the other.”

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A mural in Detroit is captured on camera as the trip team traveled to their host site, Grace Church of the Nazarene.

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The trip team for A Public Health Approach to Violence in Detroit.

 

Whose Backyard? Trajectories of Land Use and Their Impact on America’s National Forests in New Hampshire

How does land use impact local ecosystems, communities, and the individuals who draw inspiration from America’s wild places? This is the question explored by the Whose Backyard? trip team in and around White Mountain National Forest in eastern New Hampshire. Students met with David Wilcove, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and public affairs and the Princeton Environmental Institute, the U.S. Forest Service, local conservationists, loggers, communications professionals, and activists.

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Students archiving water samples
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Students with guide in White Mountains of New Hampshire
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Students in White Mountains of New Hampshire
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From left, Remi Shaull-Thompson, a junior, and Sean-Wyn Ng and Laura Molina, both first-year students, volunteer with the trip team at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest helping researchers organize an archive of more than 500 bottles of water samples representing 12 years worth of scientific data.

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Fred Lavigne (right), an ex-logger and caretaker of Mead Base Conservation Center, a historic home that hosts volunteers and researchers in the White Mountain National Forest, shares local history and discusses conservation and logging with Remi Shaull-Thompson, a junior, and Douglas Diehl, a senior.

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Students prune trees as part of the trip to the White Mountains. 

 

Community Building: Unpacking Gentrification in Trenton

On this Breakout Princeton trip, led by first-year students for first-year students, the group unpacked gentrification in Trenton, New Jersey. The trip team met with a variety of stakeholders — entrepreneurs, community organizations, nonprofits, historians and more — to gain a better understanding of what gentrification is and how it positively and negatively impacts the city. “[This trip] has only made me want to pursue sociology more, so that I may understand how things like gentrification occur,” said first-year student Brandon Dunlevy.

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Students on tour of Trenton, NJ
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Students working at HomeFront
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Student stacking shelves in HomeFront
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Pace Center Assistant Director and Trenton native David Brown introduces the trip team to Trenton, sharing insight into the city’s strengths and struggles.

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The Community Building trip team learns about the role organizations play in alleviating cycles of poverty within the Trenton community.

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First-year student Abraham Cruz-Pena organizes shelves at the HomeFront Free Store, which provides families with donated small household and clothing items.

 

Think of the Mind: Understanding Mental Illness and Care Past Customs: Understanding the Intersection of Health Care and Immigration in Philadelphia

Two Breakout Princeton trips ventured to Philadelphia to explore topics related to health. The Think of the Mind trip team explored approaches to counter stigma around mental illness and sought to gain a better understanding of how to promote mental health. Care Past Customs focused on how immigrant communities in Philadelphia pursue health and wellness and examined the impact of policy on health care and the people it reaches.

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Students in front of mural in Philadelphia
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Students using wheelbarrow
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Students at Magic Gardens in Philadelphia
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Students on the two Breakout Princeton trips in Philadelphia join to serve at Saint Augustine Roman Catholic Church by preparing gardens for spring.

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The Think of the Mind and Care Past Customs groups explored approaches to mental health and health care systems for immigrants in Philadelphia.