Are you ready for something different? Something incredible? The experience of a lifetime? Alternative Spring Break (ASB) is an extraordinary service-learning initiative which connects students to national and international partners, enabling them to engage in meaningful community service and critical reflection. This just may be the opportunity you have been looking for.
ASB is an immersive year-long program that culminates with a week of social engagement and service-learning with a partner organization during reading week in February. The reading week experience is preceded by months of preparation, which include listening to guest speaker seminars, watching fascinating documentaries and learning about a specific topic or theme such as poverty, human rights or environmentalism, all considered through the lens of the global community.
Throughout the program you’ll be encouraged to engage in personal reflection and make connections to your academic studies in order to enrich your learning experience, grow civic responsibility and strengthen communities.
Although the ASB program is co-curricular in nature there is a strong emphasis on creating connections to your academic area and continued learning. In consultation with team leaders, you’ll create a learning plan for their ASB experience. They spend significant time reflecting on the outcomes they would like to see as a result of the experience. Tangible learning goals are prepared and consulted upon on a regular basis throughout the program. Additionally, students are encouraged to use academic models of research, critical thinking and reflection throughout ASB.
The outcomes of the experience are not only focused on the students. It is equally important that our partner organization benefits from the experience. The relationship is always reciprocal in nature, where both the students and the organization are being positively impacted. The learning that occurs is a result of the service experience, therefore it is important that the service addresses an actual need identified by the partner organization, so that both those who provide and receive the service learn from the experience. The experience must be carefully designed so that the service is meaningful and beneficial to the organization, and students can connect real-life experience to their theoretical classroom learning. The reflection component of the program aids students in drawing connections between their service experience, personal beliefs and education in the classroom.
A significant element of the ASB program is that the groups are selected to ensure that there is representation from all academic faculties. This fosters interactions between students that would not normally engage in academic discussions. It can result in divergent thoughts and more complex and holistic reflection on the issues. Ultimately it pushes students to think more critically and to create an interdisciplinary perspective.