Pittsburgh skyline

The University of Cincinnati's LGBTQ Center plans to take students to Pittsburgh this spring for an "alternative spring break" service learning project. Last year, the center brought students to Detroit.

The University of Cincinnati’s LGBTQ Center recently announced plans to take students to Pittsburgh as part of its “alternative spring break” service project.

From March 18 to March 22, the group will spend time in Pittsburgh to visit museums, conduct outreach to the LGBTQ homeless community and participate in other service opportunities.

Last year, the center organized a trip to Detroit, where students helped organizations that focus on homelessness and LGBTQ issues. Ellis Johnson, a second-year fine arts students, embarked on the trip last year and plans to go again this year.

“It was a really nice experience, especially because it was a lot of giving back to the community, which I don’t see a lot during spring break,” Johnson said.

To give back, the group partnered with Keep Growing Detroit, a nonprofit organization dedicated to food sovereignty that cultivates an urban farming community. Students planted crops to harvest and distribute to low-income families. Students also worked with homeless LGBTQ youth to better understand how the shelter works.

“[We] made them dinner and cleaned up the space and hung out for a while,” Johnson said. “We did little stuff that they needed, like we fixed a shelf and stuff like that. They offer places for homeless youth to stay, but also there’s a free clinic downstairs.”

Elliot Draznin, a fourth-year entrepreneurship and marketing student who was recently profiled in a TNR article, is going on the trip this year after becoming a pride ambassador through the LGBTQ Center in August.

“It’s an opportunity to help other people and celebrate your identity, Draznin said. “If you have that ability and you are in the place of privilege to be able to be going on this trip, then you should use it.”

Caroline Lembright, a third-year political science and international affairs student, said she hopes to go to Pittsburgh after the impact she experienced last year on the Detroit trip.

“I absolutely loved the experience,” Lembright said. “It was a wonderful opportunity to get to know people within the LGBTQ community and outside of it on campus and also look at a city that’s very similar to ours in terms of the history of the city and in terms of what was happening with their LGBTQ community.”

The cost to attend is $125. Interested students can learn more by clicking here to visit the LGBTQ Center’s Facebook page, and applications are available via CampusLink.