The university will continue organizing Spring Break Campaigns next year and house them in the Office of Student Life, officials say. The decision came as a reversal of a Student Life plan earlier in the semester to cancel the long-standing tradition.
SBCs, which had been handed off to the Halbert Institute for Missions last spring, will be managed by the Center for Christian Service and Leadership, a Student Life division, and directed by CCSL administrative assistant Mollie Spaulding.
Allison Garrett, executive vice president of the university, said she thinks Student Life is well fitted to handle SBCs.
“It’s a deeper organization than the Halbert Institute, although, like most areas on campus, there have been some personnel changes,” Garrett said. “For so many years, Spring Break Campaigns were in Student Life, so there’s still a lot of historical institutional knowledge about the best way to run them, so it was an easy transition back to Student Life.”
Locations and leaders of SBCs for next spring have not yet been determined. Garrett directed specific questions about campaigns to Student Life. Jan Meyer, interim vice president of Student Life and dean of students, deferred comments to Dr. Garrett. Spaulding said she could not yet comment on the campaigns because the office was still solidifying plans.
At this point last year, SBC locations had been announced and leaders chosen.
However, Garrett said she wasn’t worried about the delay.
“It might have cost us some time, but I think our connection with several of our traditional Spring Break Campaign locations go back so many years, I don’t think the later start will cost us that much time,” Garrett said. “I’m sure over the coming years, Student Life will explore some new locations for them.”
The decision to retain SBCs came a week after the Optimist reported a Student Life decision to discontinue them. At the time, Meyer said the decision to drop SBCs came as a part of the university’s increased emphasis on local ministry. Meyer was also interviewed by a local TV station where she reiterated Student Life’s emphasis on local mission trips.
However, President Phil Schubert responded to both media reports with a letter to the Optimist and the Christian Chronicle assuring SBCs would continue.
“ACU is not dropping Spring Break Campaigns,” Schubert wrote in his letter, “and we will continue our commitment to provide year-round opportunities for students to engage in Christ-centered leadership and service.”
Schubert said he wasn’t involved in early conversations about cancelling SBCs, which might have led to some of the confusion.
“Spring Break Campaigns have been a wonderful part of our history and culture and a lot of students are interested in spending their spring break helping and serving,” Schubert said. “We want to continue to support our students so those trips can take place. I feel good about where we are. I think we had a lot of good discussions about the campaigns and we’re always looking for ways to improve how we support the student body.”