Have you ever wanted to get away from home? Not too far away from home, but just kinda packed some things and wanted to leave for about a week, with a purpose though. That’s kind of what Alternative Break is. Alternative Break is a “hands on community based learning” according to their website. From what I’ve heard about it from friends who are part of it, they take trips that are no longer than a 9 hours driving away and do some type of work with a local community service group, spending about a week there before coming back to campus. These trips are always during either winter, spring, or summer break…giving meaning to the name Alternative Break.
Alternative Break is a part of the Service Learning and Career Development office (SLCD). They are dedicated to taking students on service trips and taking time out of their breaks to help people who are in need.
This years Winter Break Alternative break groups went to Seattle, Washington and Reno, Nevada. The service members volunteered at a local kitchen where they helped the Lifelong AIDS Alliance cook and prepare meals for underprivileged people in Seattle and helped feed a lot of people and the other group went to the Nevada Children Cancer Foundation and the Children’s Cabinet, which adopted families for the holidays and helped give them good presents for this past Christmas.
So how Alternative Break works is you are put into a team at the beginning of the term and then fund raise a certain amount of money throughout the term and the team has no idea where the trip will be until a few weeks before the trip.
From what I hear it is a great experience, some of my friends have done it a few times and nothing but positive things to say about those trips. You build bonds with the people you go with because you are literally together 24/7 for about a week, getting to know each other and helping others
The first and most important thing to do if you are interested is go to the SLCD office located in SW downstairs WUC. There you can ask about Alternative Break and get all the information on how to apply. It is best if you visit right after an alternative break trip (Winter Break/Spring Break/Summer Break) and get a jump start on all the fundraising and make it easier to prepare for the trip, if you are really interested in doing it. I am really looking forward to finding out more myself, I have seen friends go on trips for four terms now and I have not heard anything negative about the trip making me a little nervous, stoked, excited to join and find out more.
By Kevin Gutierrez