This week features a story in which students chose what they call an alternative spring break. Spring break used to be synonymous with beer and bikinis. But these days, a large and growing number of college students are spending their precious time off helping abandoned pets, underprivileged kids, disabled veterans, or disaster victims. At the University of Central Florida, the alternative spring break program has grown so much, so fast, that this year three students were turned away for every one accepted. What are the students doing? One wonderful example is Marlon Gutierrez, a 20-year-old UCF junior, who spent last week in San Juan, Puerto Rico, working with homeless dogs at an overwhelmed shelter. As student leader for the trip, he was charged nothing, and other students paid $300 each for the entire week – for which they put in some hard labor. “After the first four hours, we were really tired,” Gutierrez said. “The woman who runs the place – she basically takes care of 200 dogs by herself. There was a lot of work to be done.” Not that he was complaining. The hardest part, he said late last week, was having to leave.