Lidia Zayas is looking forward to spring break 2013, not because she’s headed for fun in the sun, but because she will be leading an Alternative Spring Break service-learning trip through the University’s S.O.U.L.S. Service Learning Center.

As a freshman, Zayas helped build a house through Habitat for Humanity during the 2012 Alternative Spring Break, working alongside the family that was going to live in the new home.

“The people I met and the things I saw opened my eyes,” says Lidia. “It’s a great experience and you meet great students and staff along the way.”

Joining clubs and becoming as much involved in campus life as possible is a great way to enhance the college experience, according to Zayas, who also is involved with the Black Student Union and the Women in Business club. She is treasurer of the University’s Hispanic Association and is working with members of the club on incorporating a volunteer experience.

“I got involved in so many organizations because I feel that if you are just going to class and then home, you aren’t receiving the full college experience,” says Zayas. “And being involved has opened so many networking opportunities.”

While Lidia, who has been volunteering since high school, is hardly new to community service, it still serves as learning opportunity for her.

“I’ve noticed that volunteering any free time can really make a difference in many people’s lives,” she says.

“If there were one thing I would tell new students, it would be to get involved. It makes all the difference.”