Spring break is under way this week and 35 Fresno State students are using the time to devote 800 hours to community service projects.

The Alternative Spring Break began this morning and runs through Thursday ( March 21-24) from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day at Stone Soup Fresno, Scout Island and Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Central Valley.

The partnership, sponsored by the University Student Union and the Jan and Bud Richter Center for Community Engagement and Service-Learning, involves three teams of 11-13 students each.

At Stone Soup, team leader Ramiro Merino Diaz, a communications major, leads 13 students in operating a four-day STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) camp for 4th-6th grade students. The team will also participate in a center beautification project and host a spring carnival.

At Scout Island, 11 students led by biology major Karan Purwaha and chemistry major Bernave Tinajero, will work on river clean up, reforestation and invasive plant removal.

At the Ronald McDonald House, the third team is led by Alejandro Prado, a social work and Chicano studies major. This group of 11 students will be preparing meals, conducting home beautification and hosting activities for the residents including a movie night.

Participants are expected to develop their leadership and communication skills through team building, enhance their personal and professional development, and network with other students and community benefit organizations.

Team members will also participate in critical reflection activities at the conclusion of each service day, said Shawna Blair, program and events coordinator for Fresno State’s Student Involvement Center. These activities promote learning and strengthen the students’ personal and professional development, she said.

A public reception will held April 8 for student presentations about the service projects and to recognize their efforts.

For more information, contact Marina Aguilera, Student Involvement graduate assistant, at si_programming@csufresno.edu or 559.623.5348.