Professors’ breaks can be memorable to many

Carley Bonk, Staff Writer

Many Pitt-Johnstown faculty continue to look forward to spring break despite some forgettable break experiences.

Philosophy Associate professor Martin Rice said that he remembers one of the earliest Pitt-Johnstown spring breaks.

“We used to not have a spring break, so students were let out a week earlier at the end of the semester to get a jump on the job market,” said Rice.

“When university officials aligned Pitt-Johnstown with main campus, they added a week off in March,” he said.

Rice said he remembers this first break as a changing time.

“My fellow faculty member, Bill Smith, and I were eating lunch in the faculty dining room the Friday before break,” said Rice.

“Looking out at the sun and snow on the pine trees, Bill said, ‘I wonder if it’s over.’”

The week started out with beautiful weather, sunny and in the 70s Rice said.

“Overnight, the temperature dropped 65 degrees, with three feet of snow and 60-miles per-hour winds.”

“I went from wearing shorts and a T-shirt, to multiple layers and snow goggles.”

Assistant Academic Affairs Vice President Paul Newman also has experienced unusual times during past breaks.

“I used to take trips with the History Club during the week of spring break,” said Newman.

“In 2000, we took a 15-passenger van to Chicago.”

The trip started rocky, with two of the students ending a relationship the day before.

“Things were really awkward between them during the 12-hour road trip,” said Newman.

“We also had a student who became carsick very easily. We had to stop every hour for him.”

Once they arrived at a hotel, things were not much better.

“I gave the van key to one of the students who had forgotten something inside and they lost the key,” he said.

“Becky Houston, one of the most structured students I’ve ever known, even started to rummage through a garbage can in the lobby to find the key, quickly realizing that she was sorting through vomit.”

The lobby receptionist was not helpful, either he said.

“She refused to look in the lost and found.  Once another lady took her shift, we found out it had been there the entire time,” said Newman.

On their way back, they found out that one of the students had been diagnosed with mononucleosis the week before.

“It was certainly the most eventful spring break trip I’ve taken. We all still laugh about it today,” Newman said.

The Pitt-Johnstown History Club still takes weeklong trips, but they have been moved to May for more predictable weather.

Newman will be spending this spring break in surgery.

“I’m getting rotator-cuff surgery, I had to cancel a ski trip and a trip to Virginia.  I’ll be out for eight weeks.”

Tuangtip Klinbubpa-Neff said she has exciting plans for this upcoming break.

“I plan to visit University of Pittsburgh main campus and the nationality rooms.”

She is doing research for her Global Literature I and II classes and Global Literature for Studying Abroad Program.

She is also planning on eating well during her trip.