Montgomery College Students Engage in an Alternative Spring Break


Five volunteers gather inside a greenhouse on a break from planting trees. Photo credit: Hannah Stocks

Alana McCarthy Light

A diverse group of twenty Montgomery College students from all three campuses (Rockville, Takoma Park Silver Spring, and Germantown) was bused to Calvert Marine Museum in Solomons, MD; Flag Pond Park in Lusby, MD; and Claggett Farm in Upper Marlboro, MD to participate in Alternative Spring Break 2022. They heard lectures about the Chesapeake Bay from local agricultural workers.

Calvert Marine Museum

Group photo of all of Alternative Spring Break’s advisors and volunteers at the Calvert Maritime Museum in Solomons, Maryland, where students can explore fossils, lighthouses, and Chesapeake Bay history. Photo credits: Hannah Stocks
Leaders view fossils at the Solomons Nature Center. Photo credits Hannah Stocks




Hollis Zimmerman, a Radio Broadcasting/Production Major part-time student at MC, was responsible for organizing the students’ activities. He led a fun and engaging icebreaker to get students to learn about each other and their different backgrounds. The event’s goal was to engage students in an Alternative Spring Break where they would be able to connect as leaders and passionate advocates for their community. In this event, students were also able to have fun with each other through an intense Uno card game and lots of talk about food.

Zimmerman said, “I met amazing individuals from all three campuses within the Montgomery College community.” He continues, “I learned why they wanted to participate in Alternative Spring Break. I heard about their experiences, how they want to do more to serve their community in so many capacities and do good to others”.

Flag Pond Park
After meeting with the Calvert Marine Museum employees, the student volunteers visited the nature center at Flag Pond Park, as they independently explored and were exposed to various fields.  The employees also invited them to fill out surveys to give their opinions on envisioning the museum’s future.

A far-away angle of the soil for tree planting. Photo credits: Hannah Stocks
Students with their collected trash at Flag Point Park. Photo courtesy Soha Mustafa.















Zimmerman shares his experiences, “I cleaned up the trash along the beach and in the water and even went into the water and pulled out a heavy boat cushion that was polluting the Chesapeake Bay. I learned so much from the park rangers about the endangered and invasive species around the park. We planted 1,286 trees at the Claggett Farm owned by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.”

Students enjoy the incoming spring weather. Photo credits: Hannah Stocks

Taking the Lead 
Many of the Alternative Spring Break Participants are in leadership roles at MC, including Hollis Zimmerman and Soha Mufasa, leaders in the Impact MC program. As well as other students that are active in various honor societies, officers in various student life clubs, and pursuers of personal creative projects. In addition to leading the Alternative Spring Break activities and being part of Impact MC, Zimmerman is active as a club leader and honor society member. He shares how important it is to engage in college activities, “it gets me beyond and outside of my comfort zone. I can try new things and do service both inside and outside the Montgomery College Rockville student body and community.”

Claggett Farm
Lucky Latchi, another student present during the Alternative Spring Break, said, “the most meaningful part of my experience was planting over a thousand trees with a group of my fellow students. It was very accomplishing because it had to do with a good cause, where we were helping runoff water during farming practices. Also, we learned how we could be of service to ourselves in the sense that we produce these plants, which turn into food that goes into our bodies. Another thing is I got to meet a lot of new people.”

Two students fill up pails with soil for the rows of trees behind them while music fills the air. Photo credits: Hannah Stocks
Student makes sure the tree fits. Photo credits: Hannah Stocks





Paulina Martinez, yet another student present in the Alternative Spring Break, said, “I could connect to many students who were passionate about social service learning, and I was also able to connect with nature because we were outdoors on a farm outside and by the water.”

Business Major and aspiring entrepreneur Rebecca Fuchs said, “As someone in the economics and finance field, I would love to learn how to be of service [to the community] in the work I decide to do.”

Alternative Spring Break students wrapping up on the farm. Photo credits: Hannah Stocks

Next Steps
The following community service travel activity will be 2022’s Summer Service Extravaganza, led by Hannah Stocks, Montgomery College’s Faculty Service Learning Coordinator. Future college-run volunteer projects can be found on MC Rockville’s Student Life Facebook page.

Be on the lookout for Virtual Service Learning Info Sessions.

Montgomery College offers a Spirit of Service Award for students who earn 20 community service hours in one school year. Additionally, if one manages to log over 100 hours in the MC Serves database, they are eligible for the MC Spirit of Service Medallion or the U.S. President’s Volunteer Service Award. The Student Service Awards banquet will be held Friday, May 5th, from 5-7 pm at Germantown.