Next March, University of Mary Washington will be joining hundreds of other colleges by sending students on an immersive learning experience called an Alternative Service Break (ASB).
Sometimes held over spring break, other times over summer break, these programs offer students a way to learn about a local community, discover new skills, and make a difference.
Last year, University of Mary Washington sent 41 students to programs in Florida and South Carolina where they worked with local Habitat for Humanity chapters to help build and repair homes. They also learned about housing conditions in rural and urban areas, and broadened their horizons in other ways.
UMW Alternative Service Break trips give students a chance to work in partnership with a host organization on community-driven service projects, building positive relationships along the way. “I enjoyed going on an ASB trip because I got to work on a very meaningful project and form strong bonds with our group,” shared Carleigh Rahn, a UMW sophomore. “I really enjoyed the trip, and the opportunity to do good work with good people.”
The UMW Center for Community Engagement will offer two Alternative Service Break trips in the spring and summer of 2020. Students who participate often rely on donations from friends and family members to help them pay their way, although the university hosts additional fundraisers on campus. Students also prepare shared meals while on travel, and find other ways to save on costs. “We learn to travel on a budget,” shared Rahn.
“It can be such a transformative learning experience,” shared Mackenzie Hard, the current graduate assistant in the Center for Community Engagement. “We are happy we are able to provide this opportunity for students to travel to new places, learn new things, and understand the importance of volunteering your time to contribute to positive change.”
Top 5 reasons to go on a UMW Alternative Service Break trip:
- You will learn more about social issues related to housing, poverty, infrastructure, and social change.
- You will make a difference in a local community.
- Volunteer experience will give your resume the hands-on experience you need.
- You will step outside your comfort zone and learn more about yourself and your team.
- You will learn to cook meals on a budget!