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Students serve communities through Alternative Breaks

Alternative Breaks (AB), a student organization supported by Leadership and Community Connections, provides students of Illinois State with opportunities to enact social change. Alternative Breaks hosts local, national, and global service trips to help meet the needs of communities. Recently, students participated in Alternative Winter Break where they traveled to serve in either Florida or Costa Rica.

Grant Schroeder, a senior visual communication major, traveled to Florida with other students this winter for his fourth Alternative Break trip. He has attended two trips as a participant, one as a bus leader, and was most recently a trip leader. “I have been on many AB trips and each time I am reminded of why I love this program so much,” Schroeder said.

Schroeder recommends Alternative Breaks to others because students get the opportunity to undergo personal growth and create bonds and lifelong friendships with those you volunteer with. “AB has completely changed my life for the better,” he said.

Jade Umberger, a senior family and consumer science major, also participated in Alternative Winter Break recently, but attended the international trip to Costa Rica. Like Schroeder, this was her fourth AB trip as well. Umberger learned a lot from her AB experiences not only as a leader but as a participant. She gained “insight from others and learned so much about life.” Umberger described her experiences as “eye-opening” and is looking forward to participating in more AB trips before graduation.

If students missed the opportunity to participate in Alternative Winter Break, they still have a chance to apply for Alternative Spring Break (ASB)! ASB applications are still being accepted on a rolling basis. There will be five buses with participants traveling to five different areas of the country, each with their own social issue to be their focus for the week.

For more information about Alternative Breaks, contact Leadership and Community Connections at (309) 438-7346.

Marie Huels contributed to this article.