12 January 2024 • Service Empowering Student Impact: Sign Up for Alternative Spring Break
Alternative Spring Break offers students the opportunity to volunteer across the nation.
The Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning is thrilled to announce its Alternative Spring Break trips for March 2024, providing students with unique opportunities to engage with multiple communities. This year's destinations include Mariam Boyd Elementary School in Norlina, N.C., Pocahontas State Park in Warrenton, Va., Rural and Migrant Ministries in Lyons, N.Y., and Sabana Luquillo, Puerto Rico.
These trips allow students to cultivate meaningful connections, promote social responsibility and make a positive impact on the communities involved during spring break.
Mariam Boyd Elementary School, Norlina, N.C.
Through a 21-year partnership started by alum Michael Harms Matthews '00, students who travel to Mariam Boyd Elementary School will contribute to the local community by assisting with educational initiatives during the school day, organizing extracurricular activities and learning from community members while residing at the Norlina United Methodist Church. CCESL Assistant Director Peter Budmen ’15 will join the trip.
Pocahontas State Park, Warrenton, Va.
At the largest state park in Virginia, students will focus on environmental conservation and outdoor education. Participants will engage in hands-on projects to enhance the park's natural beauty and promote sustainable practices, while also learning about the opportunities that exist within the state park system including AmeriCorps and Ranger. Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology Brian Clark will lead the trip.
Rural and Migrant Ministries, Lyons, N.Y.
Students will collaborate with Rural and Migrant Ministries to learn about the unique needs of migrant communities in Lyons, N.Y. Through various projects, including education outreach with their Justice Organization for Youth, inquiry and exploration around healthcare initiatives, and community development, participants will learn firsthand the experience of migrant families and individuals.
Hosted by Community Collaborations International, the Alternative Spring Break trip to Puerto Rico offers a distinct opportunity for students to engage in work around housing resiliency, youth development and environmental topics. Participants will work alongside local organizations to support ongoing recovery efforts and contribute to infrastructure projects. This trip will be led by Associate Professor of Politics DeWayne Lucas and Associate Professor of Management and Entrepreneurship Craig Talmage.
By participating in an Alternative Spring Break, Budmen says students can expect to gain a sense of responsibility and compassion for diverse communities. “In my own experience leading a trip, it was incredible to watch our students reflect on their experience, distill how the work they were doing would have lasting effects for years to come, and analyze how it might influence their future personal and professional aspirations,” he says.
Niko Aguilar '26, who participated in the Mariam Boyd trip last year, says: “This trip was an awesome experience in which I could challenge myself while helping others. I’m proud to say that the impact we had on the people we worked with and their impact on us is something that will always be there.”
The Alternative Spring Break program series is hosted by the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning (CCESL) and supported by Student Government. Scholarships to attend are available.