Girls gone mild - a different kind of spring break

San Francisco Chronicle

Tuesday 14 March 2006, 12:30 pm

by C.W. Nevius

A growing number of college students are opting for spending the spring break week volunteering for good causes.

Erin Cooper, a third-year student at UC Berkeley, is going to the party-hearty hotbed of Tijuana. She wants to help improve conditions for border patrols, raise awareness of domestic violence within Mexico and, just for kicks, help out in organizing labor unions among migrant workers.

Some of her classmates are going to New Orleans to join in the cleanup. Still others are headed to Mexico to lend a hand in impoverished communities.

Cooper says the move toward constructive, even philanthropic, spring breaks is only natural among students today. "I think there has definitely been an increase in community service in the last 10 years," she said. "I think a lot of us got into it when we were in high school because we had to do it to get into college, and it carried on from there."