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Alternative Spring Break

Southern Ute Indian Tribe

Matt lying down at the Four Corners

While most students stayed home to do homework or travelled for Spring Break, Matt Almanza (Sociology and Pre-Med, 2014) chose to participate in a volunteer trip to the Southern Ute Indian Reservation in Ignacio, Colorado. Rick and Phyllis Chaney coordinated the trip and took Matt with them, along with five International College of Beijing students.

They volunteered at the local schools as well as at the senior center. Matt helped clean out a closet, a cluttered garage, and cleared out an old garden. “I like getting dirty,” Matt said. “So I like that kind of work.”

Part of the trip was learning about the Southern Ute Tribe, their government, and how they
run their casino. Matt received a tour of the casino, getting to see the kitchen and pathways that he didn’t even know existed. “It would have been cool if I was a business major,” Matt said, referring to the knowledge he gained about how the casino operated.

Matt went on the trip because he felt like he needed something different and wanted to get away from his books. Since moving to Denver freshman year, he’s only left the city twice. “I had such a good time and learned to never be afraid to try something new or go outside my comfort zone.”

After all the volunteering and learning about the Southern Ute Tribe, he got a chance to visit other parts of Colorado including Durango, Silverton, and the Four Corners. However, getting to visit Glenwood Springs was one of the best parts of the trip. “I’d never been to the hot springs before so it was the cherry on top,” he said.

University Honors and Leadership Program

Phone: 303-315-7838 • Fax: 303-315-7836

Street Address: 1047 Ninth Street Park • Mailing Address: Campus Box 199, PO Box 173364, Denver, CO 80217-3364


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