Students can choose to give back during their spring break by taking part in a Pay It Forward bus tour with Students Today Leaders Forever (STLF).
The ISU chapter of STLF was founded in 2006 and has organized Pay It Forward tours every year since. In addition to the Pay It Forward tours, STLF plans service projects on campus throughout the school year.
On the Pay It Forward trips, students make stops in several cities as they tour the country, participating in a variety of service projects at each stop along the way.
“I think one thing that makes our trip very unique is that you will be doing different projects in different parts of the United States every day,” Danny Grieve, senior member of STLF’s executive board, said.
“Every project is organized by student leaders. They can range from helping at a food pantry, working at a zoo, painting at a facility, working with animals, spending quality time with the elderly, completing outdoor maintenance, cleaning up from natural disasters, sorting clothes at a donation center, organizing school supplies, and so much more,” Jenn Uhlman, also a senior on the executive board, said.
This year, four busses will be sent out with 45 spots on each bus. Each bus has a different itinerary. These include the Jacksonville Classic, Jacksonville Mystery, Philadelphia Classic and Philadelphia Mystery.
“The route for a mystery tour is only known to the leaders who plan the trip, so you will not know the cities you will stop at until you arrive there,” Uhlman said. “Mystery tours typically fill up first because people love the surprises involved.”
It is hard to be bored while touring the U.S. and working on different tasks every day. The Pay It Forward tours are a sure way to avoid the Netflix blues during break. It is also a chance to make lifelong friends.
Grieve said the people he has met on the Pay It Forward tours are what has kept him coming back for the past four years.
“You spend countless hours with them for nine days as you give back to the community, travel the United States, and participate in various types of activities … The risk I took freshman year going on a bus with a bunch of strangers is the best decision I ever made in college,” he said.
Uhlman also emphasizes the joy of befriending students of different majors.
“Whether it is someone you have never seen before or someone you frequently pass on the Quad, it opens your eyes to the remarkable individuals and diversity that exists on ISU’s campus,” Uhlman said.
“Because of the Pay it Forward Tour, I have been able to work at an organic farm in Santa Fe, personally talk with a survivor from the Titanic, visit the Garden of the Gods in Colorado, and watch the sunrise on the beach in Surf City, NC. The trip has provided me with priceless opportunities that I know I will never forget.”