Every year, the Center for Community Engagement and Service trains and sends groups of 10-15 students into their local and global communities to experience hands-on work with social justice issues. If you'd like more information, feel free to browse these pages, or check out our Facebook page and info session dates (in right sidebar).
While orientation, reorientation, and activism activities occur year-round, the direct engagement component of the programs takes place during the winter, spring, and summer breaks. Student leaders facilitate the experience from beginning to end under the guidance of a staff or faculty adviser, making Alternative Breaks unique opportunities for students in a world classroom.
An Alternative Break program is broken into the following three components:
1. Orientation: student participants are oriented about the social justice issue, the community partners they will work with, the Alternative Breaks approach, and other topics such as voluntourism.
2. Engagement: the student group travels to destination and works in a mutually beneficial partnership with their community partner. This can take many forms: meetings, service, trainings, labor, etc.
3. Reorientation and activism: students come back for reorientation meetings where they discuss what had happened during the engagement component and what steps they will take to make sure their community is aware of the issue. The Alternative Break student group plans and executes activism activities, which can include fundraisers, screenings, exhibits, lobbying/advocacy, writing, etc.
Below is a list of the 2016-2017 Alternative Breaks program. If you find a program that inspires you, you'll have to create a Center for Community Engagement Interest Profile through EngageNet (link on right side bar) before you can apply. You will be contacted for an interview after the application deadline.
Winter 2017-2018 Programs
From Grassroots to Government: Women and Youth Empowerment in Rwanda
ENGAGEMENT: KIGALI, RWANDA
Explore a recovering post-genocide Rwanda through the lenses of women and youth empowerment as well as the role of grassroots organizations and the government.
ENGAGEMENT: HO CHI MINH CITY, CO CHI, and HANOI VIETNAM Explore the difficulties of post-conflict recovery in Vietnam by meeting with various organizations and government officials that work to clean up the hazards left behind from the war. Upon returning home, work to be effective advocates for victims of Agent Orange and other post-war hazards by serving as a voice in Washington.
The Inequality of Education, Race and Political Power
ENGAGEMENT: NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA
Learn Hurricane Katrina’s enduring effect on New Orleans, with a focus on historic inequity between races, political power, and environmental justice and how policy surrounding recovery, rebuilding and privatization has impacted education for its most disadvantaged students.
Listening to the Haitian Voice: Reconsidering International Development
ENGAGEMENT: PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI Learn about the intersection of public health and international aid over the spring semester of 2018. Travel to Haiti and work with various community partners to grasp a stronger understanding about our topic.
ENGAGEMENT: GEORGETOWN, GUYANA This program will explore the nuances of racial identity and conflict amongst Afro, Indo, and Putagee Guyanese people as well as the consequences of openly identifying as LGBTQ+ in the West Indies.
Learn about the history of how the arts act as a tool for organizing and resistance during both apartheid and post apartheid South Africa; then examine how contemporary visual, music, and other forms of art address liberation and resistance in both South Africa and the United States.
We will explore social dynamics and inequalities in education created by the caste system through being a camp counselor with an organization that focuses on empowering Dalit children, while becoming advocates for a more equitable India.
At the Crossroads: The Navigation of Migration and Community on the U.S.-Mexico Border
ENGAGEMENT: TUCSON, AZ & NOGALES, SONORA MEXICO
We will explore a variety of topics such as the root causes immigration– foreign policy decisions, environmental destruction, economic trade, crime, and the life migrants face once they settle in the U.S.– to the impacts that the border landscape has on communities who come face to face with that reality everyday.