Thursday, October 22, 2009

#58: Going to Appalachia for Fall Break

 At the midpoint of the fall semester, Notre Dame Students get a week off for all of their hard work.  Students use this break to do a variety of things such as relax at home, visit their friends at state schools, work on their thesis and other large projects, interview for jobs, or even to stay at school and drink excessively.  However, the most common thing that Notre Dame Students do with their fall break is go to Appalachia to do service work.

For those who don’t know, Appalachia is a cultural region that stretches across the eastern United States in the Appalachian Mountains.  The residents of Appalachia are widely seen as backward hillbilly types that are incredibly poor and uneducated (shockingly, the only state that is entirely within the Appalachian region is West Virginia).   Because of the poor economic conditions within Appalachia, Notre Dame Students take it upon themselves to make things better in this region by doing all the good work that can possibly be contained within one October week.

Students that go to Appalachia do a variety of things for the people there.  Some students work on construction and home repairs.  Other students work to promote recycling and the importance of organic farming; with further students working on issues ranging from health care to daycare.  Overall, when Notre Dame Students go to Appalachia, they make sure that they do as much good as possible in as little time as possible. 

Depending on the football schedule, Notre Dame Students are able to spend anywhere between 6 and 9 days in Appalachia each fall (and spring as well, if they do not like #11) and these Students need to do their good for several reasons.  Notre Dame Students feel the need to have the most well-rounded transcript and resume as possible.  Some know that their trip to Appalachia will look good on med school applications while others feel like it will be a nice anecdotal story to tell in future job interviews.  Other Notre Dame Students have a desire to prove how righteous they are to their friends and family by spending as much time as possible doing service work (and one week is not enough time to fly to and from Uganda).

At the end of the week, however, Notre Dame Students will return to campus with a good feeling in their heart knowing that they attempted to do good, and if given several more weeks they might have actually made a lasting impact.


  1. Ha! I went to Appalachia in 2005 when I was a sophomore. Great blog... you're capturing the ND student experience very well!

  2. Yeah...... I'm offended

    I'm a ND MBA Class of 1984 I've lived in the middle of Appalachia in Logan WV for 21 years and have been coming here since 1982 when I met my future XWIFE....

    If you guys want to do some charity work and help people who can't take care of their own communities, look in the west side of South Bend or the South Side of Chicago. In all my time here, I have NEVER crossed paths with one of you...... We may be a 3rd world country in some respects or colony of a land company or fiefs of a coal baron, but we do take care of our own.

    To do this to spruce up your resume', is not a good thing. To come here and live and help the people everyday is.

    Best wishes. Hope you get into medical school and get to go back to ND every weekend in the fall for tailgating. We have work to do here.

    Mark Hrutkay

  3. PS......

    With any luck my son will be starting at ND as a freshman in 2 years. I hope I taught him better.

    Mark Hrutkay
    Sorin Society

  4. "We have work to do here."
    Like various types of fraud?