SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — While many students were off relaxing on spring break, 11 University of Rhode Island (URI) students spent their time giving back to the community.

The group took part in the Habitat for Humanity Collegiate Challenge building a home for a family of five in Taos, New Mexico.

The trip was organized by URI’s Alternative Spring Break program which was created back in 2009 and run by the student-led URI Service Corps.

The university said the students dug ditches, mixed and poured concrete, sanded drywall, stained doors, and learned how to make the native building material, adobe.

“My favorite parts of the trip were being in new environmental and cultural spaces,” said Abby Wilson, a double major in biotechnology and cell and molecular biology.

“I also loved learning about their culture, meeting new people, and hearing their life stories,” she added. “All of the things you get to experience on ASB trips are once in a lifetime opportunities.”

The students would end each day by reflecting on their experience and discussing how they felt.

“At the end of the week, we all write notes to each other” trip advisor Kathleen Conlon said. “That’s nice because by then you’ve gotten to know each other really well and you write these nice notes that you read on the plane coming home.”

Conlon added that “teamwork, patience and organization were essential” to the trip.

URI students add cement they’ve mixed to make a foundation for a shed. (Courtesy of Kemi Odunaike)