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By Ashley Davis
With spring break right around the corner, many students are scrambling to make plans for that one precious week without school. This year, a unique alternative from the usual cruises, lake houses and festivals has presented itself in MTV and United Way’s Spring Fix.
MTV, the music television channel, has partnered with United Way and mtvU, the 24-hour college channel, to organize an alternative spring break for students who wish to spend their break in a philanthropic way.
The program will take 50 of the students who apply and bring them to areas in New York and New Jersey hit by Super Storm Sandy in October. The students will help rebuild some of the devastated areas and raise funds for United Way in the process from March 17-23. The trip will end in a special free concert for the volunteers at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, N.J. Officials at the MTV network say they expect celebrities and other public figures to make an appearance and join the efforts of the volunteers.
All of the Spring Fix activities will receive coverage by MTV network during spring break and will air in segments on MTV, mtvU and MTV2. There will be a spring break-themed time slot in March specifically to show the students’ efforts in Seaside Heights, N.J., and parts of New York that were affected by the storm.
“We’re thrilled to partner with our audience and United Way to provide desperately needed help to communities in need following Hurricane Sandy,” MTV president Stephen Friedman said in a press release. “These young people are skipping the typical spring break parties to give back, and we’re honored to spotlight their work across our network.”
While the storm happened early last semester, times are still tough for people whose homes were destroyed in New York.
Noopur Agarwal, MTV vice president of public affairs said, “We know that it’s been a long recovery effort for many of the people who were affected. As far as the young people involved, we’re honored to shine a spotlight on their work.”
Agarwal said MTV has a longstanding relationship with United Way, and that they are thrilled to work with them on “Spring Fix.”
“In 2006, we partnered with them to host the first-ever United Way Alternative Spring Break, with students from around the country trading the typical beach parties and nights out to go to communities in the Gulf Coast to help with long-term recovery efforts following Hurricane Katrina,” Agarwal said. “United Way Alternative Spring Break has offered thousands of young people the opportunity to do meaningful service since its inception. So it was only natural that we’d work with them again on this initiative.”
Since the 2006 efforts for disaster relief, Agarwal said the company’s partnership with United Way has been a great success and has received wide support from college students all over the country.
“We received a great response from students around the country to participate in this effort, and I truly believe it will be an incredibly rewarding experience for everyone involved,” Agarwal said.
Though the application deadline has passed, there are several other alternative spring break projects sponsored by United Way that include locations in Tuscon, Ariz., El Paso and Newark, N.J. There are also opportunities for students to start their own campus Student United Way chapters as well as volunteering in the community.
Students can still participate in Spring Fix through donations made to relief efforts through the United Way website.