This summer, Alternative Breaks (AB) will begin hosting service trips once again, after being on hold since March 2020 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. With restrictions lifting and vaccine distribution beginning, smaller trips are being planned for this coming May.
AB is a student organization supported by the Center for Civic Engagement that hosts local, national, and global service trips to help meet needs of communities.
“By joining Alternative Breaks, you will have such a great experience volunteering, gaining new leadership skills, making amazing friends, and making a big impact in so many communities,” said Katie Sebok, a senior political science major on the AB executive board.
In the past, trips have been quite large, with as many as 50 students on a trip; however, this year, trips will be domestic and much smaller with 10 participants each, in order to follow health and safety guidelines.
“Having fewer people on the trips does not make this experience any less impactful,” said Adeline Nickel, a senior nursing major on the AB executive board. “The international trips that usually happen are around 10 people as well, so there is no need to worry about not having a big group on these trips.”
AB will host four (possibly five) trips this May with Redbirds traveling to Tennessee, Arkansas, and Florida. “The students will be restoring state park trails, helping children in daycares in low-income communities, improving low-income housing, and working on projects assigned by specific work sites,” Sebok said.
During the day, students will be working to improve communities, but later in the day, they will regroup and reflect on the day’s experiences. Education on social issues and time for reflection are at the heart of the AB experience.
Applications are now live for all of these trips, and students should apply by February 24 for first consideration. This year, it is especially important that any interested students apply as soon as possible, since spots are limited.
“I encourage all students to join an organization that will push you to become a better version of yourself, and that is exactly what Alternative Breaks has provided me,” Nickel said.
“Alternative Breaks is special because you get to not only build relationships with all the other students alongside you, but you get to build a whole new community in the places that you are serving,” Nickel said.
These trips leave a lasting impact on the communities involved and are a great experience for the volunteers as well.
Faculty and staff needed for trip advisor positions
All trips are led by students, but University faculty and staff are also needed to serve as trip advisors to help during the trip if necessary. A minimum of one trip advisor is needed for every AB trip. Faculty and staff interested in applying for a trip advisor position should discuss their involvement with their supervisor and then apply online. Visit the AB website for full details on trip advisor duties.