Auburn Family

Auburn Community 'Sips for Santa Julia'

Students and community members alike gathered Tuesday evening in Auburn for a relaxing benefit night to “Sip for Santa Julia” at a local business, Coffee Cat. Nine Auburn University students, along with an advisor from the university, will be heading to Nicaragua for a week of this coming winter break to serve the rural Santa Julia Community outside of the capital city of Managua.

The benefit night was held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. and anyone interested was encouraged to stop in with donations such as school supplies and toys for the community members. Ten percent of each purchase during that time was also donated toward the trip.

During the hour and a half event, local musicians had the opportunity to perform and people gathered to drink delicious coffee and learn more about the upcoming trip and its purpose.

The journey to Nicaragua is organized through the on-campus organization, Alternative Student Breaks (ASB). ASB offers trips to any Auburn University student interested in serving in various areas of the country and around the world during academic breaks, such as spring and winter break. Carly Ilvento, who went on the same ASB trip to the Santa Julia community during last year’s winter break, will now serve as the site leader. She had the idea to organize a benefit night at Coffee Cat after having spent much time last year on the trip harvesting and processing coffee beans with the community members.

Overall, she was pleased with the results of the benefit night. “We had more than 30 people come through which is awesome for how small of a place we were in, plus not a lot of people know of Coffee Cat’s location,” she said. “The music and atmosphere were perfect. We received more than 40 school supply and toy donations and that’s the most important part.”

Ilvento explained that in order to go on a trip through ASB, students must apply and explain why they want to go. She is very excited to work with the group of students who were selected this year and is looking forward to leading alongside the trip advisor, Tess Gibson. While in Nicaragua, the participants will spend time getting to know the people of the community and working on various projects.

“This is my third ASB trip to advise (on projects), but first international. The community that we will be serving is in such need, but based on everything Carly (our site leader) has told us, they are so happy and appreciative. I am excited to experience that with 9 AU students,” Gibson said.If you’re interested in contributing donations toward the trip, contact Carly Ilvento by email at or visit their gofundme page. There will also be another benefit night held on Nov. 18 at Mama Mocha’s Coffee Roastery for the trip.

Applications are also currently out for spring break Alternative Student Break trips and are open to any AU student. They can be found on Auinvolve and are due this Friday, Oct. 30.

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