Alternative Spring Break (ASB) offers students something different to do with the vacation that helps serve and create an impact in various communities.
Every year during spring break, Leadership and Service takes students on different buses to a variety of locations throughout the country.
“Students go to five different cities and engage in direct service in those cities,” Annie Weaver, senior specialist of Leadership and Service, said.
“Students do four full days of service as well as a day off to explore. They do reflections and get to talk to each other about the impact it had on their lives.”
The cost of the trip is $200 which is paid in installments in the months leading up to the trip. There are also fundraising opportunities and fee waivers available.
Besides becoming a regular participant, ASB also gives students a chance to become trip leaders.
“I became a trip leader because I fell in love with Alternative Breaks during my trip freshman year,” Markita Jenkins, junior community health major said.
“After two years of just being a participant I wanted to test my leadership skills and make ASB a part of my every day life instead of just one week in March.”
In past trips, buses went to places like Memphis, Tenn. to do environmental cleanup with the Mississippi River, which Jenkins was a part of. They also worked at a camp in Texas for people with disabilities, and Selma, Ala. with the Freedom Foundation to keep kids off the streets. Most of the locations are usually down south but during the free day, students get the chance to travel to any city between their location and Normal.
ASB started in 1986 through the campus ministries and became a student led program in 2000. It began as a way to give students an alternative to the usual spring break activities and make a difference. Weaver said that the word alternative is also a reference to the fact that it is an alcohol and drug free trip.
“Students should get involved because they’re going to go on a trip with 45 new friends and the way the trip is designed, you get to know everyone,” Weaver said.
Participants for this year’s trip had a trip reveal back in November which included a scavenger hunt around the Bone Student Center to figure out their location. One of the newest locations is a trip to Huntsville, Texas to work with newly released inmates.
“I could go on for hours about why every single student should participate in ASB,” Jenkins said. “It’s crazy how close you get with people in just seven days but I’ve met people that I can truly say will be my friends for years to come.”
Applications for ASB are still available on a rolling basis but there are also other opportunities such as Alternative Summer Break, Alternative Winter Break and Club AB.