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AB offers students unique opportunity

By elly villescas
On March 14, 2012

Spring break is usually the time when most college students are headed to one of two places: back home or to the beach. It's a time for relaxation and for forgetting
about school and the stress it brings.
However, for a group of over 200 students and 25 faculty members,
spring break was a challenge to be an active citizen in the community
and world around them.
These students participated in Alternative Breaks (AB).
There were 25 trips set all around the country and the world with a given goal or focus. Some of these trips included learning about elderly living in America in Charlotte, N.C. or conservation of native ecosystems in Catalina Island, Calif.
In the beginning of the year, interested students were given the opportunity to apply to be chosen as an AB participant.
While applying for either the position of a site leader or a participant,
students were asked to rank the trips they would like to go on if chosen. Most of the trips happened during spring break, but there are three that are designed as summer trips.
From the time participants were chosen to when they left, they met weekly to not only educate
themselves about their trip and get to know each other, but also to fundraise.
The cost of a trip for a student can range between $200-$300 depending on where the trip is located and what kind of transportation
it required. The rest of the cost of the trip was covered by fundraising.
Individual trips had fundraisers
which were coupled with AB sponsored events.
Individual ideas for fundraising
included selling flowers on Valentine's Day, bake sales and bagel sales. The AB events that allowed
for all groups to fundraise in one area included events such as the silent basket auction, where everything one could bid on varied from themed "date night" baskets to a basketball signed by the men's basketball team.
"It's not only a great way to meet new people and learn about issues affecting the world today but it allows students to step outside
of their comfort zone and see a social justice issue through the eyes of those that are directly affected
by it," Julie Tritschler, the chair of the program, said.
After each trip, students were able to come together as a group and reflect on the trip as well as what they all experienced.

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