Spring Break Campaigns are leaving in two weeks with new volunteers and new destinations, but the tradition of campaigns is nearly 35 years old.
In 1976, a group of ACU students traveled to Guatemala during Spring Break to provide aid after an earthquake hit earlier that year. After going on the trip, one of the students, Max Lucado, decided to lead a trip to Des Moines, Iowa. These were the first Spring Break Campaigns, although the term was coined several years later.
Not many students participated at first; only 74 took the Des Moines trip. However, the idea soon caught on. The number of campaign locations doubled in the next three years, and the fourth year, the number doubled again. In 1986, ACU was sending more than 250 students to 15 cities around the United States.
Some of the campaigns have been going almost since Lucado thought of the idea. The campaign to Seattle has been going for a little more than 30 years. Many students from the first Seattle Spring Break Campaigns have actually moved to the city and continue to help ACU students with their campaigns, said Mark Foster, senior information technology major from Abilene and chair of Spring Break Campaigns. Several students attend the church the campaign works with in Seattle.
“It helps that there’s one contact,” Foster said. “They want us back, and they can take a lot of students and students like going.”
The number of students going on campaigns continues to grow each year. Secretary of Spring Break Campaigns Meredith Platt, junior vocational missions major from Midland, said it actively portrays the mission statement of ACU.
“Spring Break Campaigns is one of those organizations on campus that most accurately allows students to live out the purpose of ACU,” Platt said. “It’s a way they can take hold of that right now and really believe in that; and if they want to grow in that, then they can do that now.”