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Cutting hair while cutting costs

by Jenni Leahy / Beacon Correspondent • February 14, 2013

Tedesco_salon
Roffi Salon and Spa at 134 Newbury St. is helping the alternative Spring Break program fundraise through its annual cut-a-thon. The salon donates 20 percent of proceeds from Emerson students, faculty, and staff haircuts.
Roffi Salon and Spa at 134 Newbury St. is helping the alternative Spring Break program fundraise through its annual cut-a-thon. The salon donates 20 percent of proceeds from Emerson students, faculty, and staff haircuts.

For students who plan on wasting away spring break lying on their couch at home, Emerson’s Alternative Spring Break (ASB) offers another option. The volunteer organization is bolstering its trip offerings this year by giving students the option to give aid in four different locations. 

To help offset the cost of the service trips for students, ASB is currently working with various local businesses to host fundraisers. 

The restaurant UNO Chicago Grill will be hosting an event on Feb. 17. Fliers for the fundraiser can be found in the Walker building or printed online. Between the hours of 12:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., UNO will donate up to 20 percent of the customers’ checks to raise money for the ASB program, if they provide the leaflets before paying. 

Roffi Salon and Spa has been helping the program raise money since October 2011 by donating 20 percent of the proceeds from all hair services given to Emerson students, faculty, and staff over a six month period.

Hairstylist J Despres at Roffi Salon and Spa said the salon became interested in ASB when Emerson graduate Paige Trubatch came into the salon asking for donations to support the program.

“Michael, my boss, said it would be a great way to get some new faces into the salon,” Despres said. “Paige came in and started everything, and we’ve been going strong for three years.”

In its first year, Despres said the salon donated the cost of each haircut towards funding for the program for anyone who mentioned ASB for a week, raising around $700 to $800.

This time, they extended the donation period from October into spring break. 

Despres said she’s hopeful the salon will raise a lot of money for the program.

“We try to top our numbers every year,” Depres said. “So hopefully we’ll have even more money to donate to them this time.”

Trip leader Christian Bergren-Aragon said that even after using the money allocated to the organization from the Student Government Association, each participant needs to pay $350 out of his or her own pocket. 

The ASB program has been a part of Emerson since 2007, providing a weeklong service experience to its participants.

Since its first student trip in 2007 to New Orleans with Habitat for Humanity, ASB has grown in both size and opportunities for students, according to the Emerson website. The program worked with Youth Services Opportunities Project in Washington, D.C.; Hurricane Katrina relief in Waveland, Miss.; and with other organizations throughout Boston.

This year, ASB is affiliated with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston South Boston Clubhouse, the St. Francis house, and 826 Boston. 

Bergren-Aragon, who helped to plan the ASB trip to Mississippi, said he was passionate about the cause.

“There are a lot of homeless people in Boston: We see it every day, right outside our front door, but a lot of students don’t know how to deal with it,” he said. “This trip will hopefully teach us how to help the homeless, and we can then take that knowledge and apply it back in Boston.”

Bergen-Aragon said the program works to provide students with a wide selection of trips. Each trip takes 12 students, a trip leader and two faculty advisors.

“Students are so busy during the school year with work and extracurricular activities, most don’t have the time to help out the community,” said Bergren-Aragon, a sophomore journalism major. “ASB gives them the opportunity to dedicate themselves to a community and help out, while having a great time with some fantastic people.”