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Alternative Spring Breaks

Alternative Spring Breaks

Week-long service trips that immerse students in issues of social concern.

Photos from an Alternative Spring BreakAlternative Springs Breaks (ASB) combine service, travel, and reflection to allow students to begin to form a deeper and more nuanced understanding of such pressing issues as income inequality, food deserts, and sustainable development. ASBs complement formal classroom learning and give students the opportunity to engage with new communities through service projects, grassroots action, and advocacy. In the process, students learn about the socioeconomic, political, and cultural context of the communities in which they serve.

In 2014, the Bunting Center sponsored two Alternative Spring Break projects in Boston and Washington, D.C. The Boston team tackled hunger at the Greater Boston Food Bank, volunteered at the Boston Rescue Mission, and gardened at the McKinley Collaborative Garden. The group in Washington, D.C. worked with the General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church participating in seminars and spending the afternoons working on service projects around the district. The D.C. team also had the opportunity to spend an afternoon touring the Capitol Building. These projects allowed students to spend their spring breaks learning about a new community and making a difference through service. In the past, ASB projects have been held in Puerto Rico, San Francisco, Boston, and on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

This year we hope for the Alternative Spring Break trips to be completely student planned. This gives students the opportunity to visit places and volunteer with causes that they are passionate about. 

Students apply to participate in an ASB. All students are encouraged to apply regardless of age, service experience, or financial situation. Preparation includes pre-departure meetings, readings, and discussion on service-learning and project-specific subjects. Please contact Emily Thornton ( in the Bunting Center to learn more about upcoming ASBs or about submitting your own ASB ideas.