It's the dead of winter in KOTA Territory which has many people yearning for warmer weather. Including about one and a half million college students across the country preparing for spring break.
And with spring break, often comes parties, drinking, and beaches.
But, we found several local students who have a different idea. And that would be volunteering.
"We're going to Bogota, Colombia," says Cole Bedford, a student at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.
"We're going to Florida to Port St Joe's State Buffer Preserve," says Lorrin Anderson, a student at Black Hills State University.
To turn the stereotypical party scene of spring break, into a time to help others.
"They're going to take us around to meet people and discover projects," says Tony Kulesa, President of the Student Chapter of Engineers & Scientists Abroad at the School of Mines.
"Anything that they need done that we can help with, we're more than happy to help with," says Anderson.
It's called Alternative Spring Break, a program students from both Black Hills State and the School of Mines participate in.
"I went to this last year in California and it was a great experience," says Anderson.
"In the past students have gone to Chile to do water quality type work, layout for an orphanage in Chile, they've done water quality in Tanzania and Egypt," says Bedford, who still gets to do what he loves most, travel.
"And to get that aspect of your spring break but also to do something productive is for me a lot more valuable than just going to party somewhere," says Bedford.
And for many students it is a time to party. According to the World Press, more than 83 percent of students on spring break will drink every night, and they average ten drinks per night.
"Going to some resort destination to party for a week, but I really like what we're doing here, taking it a little bit further and hopefully going to benefit from it," says Kulesa.
"Mainly they are going to experience the opportunity to monumentally change and impact a place, and usually it's a non-profit or a place that really needs the help," says Michelle Cole, Alternative Spring Break Advisor at BHSU.
"As a student and an engineer in the future it'll be a great experience to have on my resume," says Kulesa.
"They were so thankful to have our help and it was a very rewarding experience," says Anderson.
Both groups of students leave early March and until then, they'll be fundraising to help off-set the cost.
Tony Kulesa says in an interview, "We pay for much of what we spend on trips through student buy-in. But, we fundraise as much as possible from local businesses and alumni. It is a relentless battle of networking and fostering relationships with past and future donors to continue receiving donations for our cause. We have even a more difficult time with Engineers & Scientists Abroad than other student organizations because our projects are ever-changing. So each time around we are describing a new humanitarian program or a new project cause to potential donors."
Below are some ways you can donate to lend a helping hand:
To donate to Black Hills State University students who are going to Port Saint Joseph State Buffer Preserve in Florida, you can mail your contribution to:
BHSU Resident Life
1200 University St
Spearfish, SD 57799
-OR- email Michelle Hammond at Michelle.Hammond@bhsu.edu
To donate to South Dakota School of Mines students who are going to Bogota, Colombia, you can make your check out to "SDSM&T ESA" and mail it to:
501 East Saint Joseph Street
Rapid City, SD 57701
-OR- email ESA@mines.sdsmt.edu