Spring break plans lead to Ferguson

Britton Mikkelsen’s spring break plans start by heading off to Ferguson, Mo. to take part in community activism and rebuilding.

Mikkelsena, member of SCSU’s Social Responsibility Student Organization, decided mid-February that she was going to spend her spring break in Ferguson. She was originally making the trip with a friend, but because she made the decision on short notice, she’s heading off to Ferguson on her own.

She bought a train ticket, costing just over $200, and registered with alternative spring break program “Operation Hush or Help,” an organization based around community service.

After arriving in Ferguson, members from the organization are to pick Mikkelsen up. The organization provides housing for those that registered. Round-trip, she’ll spend about $300, but the money wasn’t the issue.

“I like helping people, so whenever I get an opportunity, I jump at it.”

Mikkelsen said she found out about the “Hush or Help” program through social media. After doing more research on the program’s mission, she signed up.

“Especially in a town like St. Cloud, where we have a lot of different populations, it worried me that one day our town could turn out like that,” she said. “I don’t think it will. I think we have a lot of really great people running the city, and that the police chief is committed to making sure it doesn’t happen.”

Though there are protests going on every day, her work with the volunteer organization is aimed at building the community back up through various projects, including community gardening, helping young students with their reading, working with local food banks, and registering voters.

“If you vote, you can change things,” she said.

Mikkelsen, Nebraska native and first-year student, joined SCSU’s chapter of College Democrats (DFL) a week into classes. Mikkelsen said she worked with the DFL and former state Rep. Zachary Dorholt during the elections last fall. She said voter turnout has had its challenges in the past, and looks forward to helping register voters.

“I think a lot of what this program aims to do it repair the community,” she said. “The big point is staying after the protest and helping out.”

She said she’s looking forward to the various activities and volunteer opportunities that are presented through the program, along with being able to build her organizing skills and learning more about these social issues.

Mikkelsen is leaves Saturday, March 7, and will be staying in Ferguson for a week.

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