Alternative Breaks


Payton Flasco

Alicia Key, Managing Editor, Convergence Desk

Alternative Breaks, sponsored through the Office of Community Outreach and affiliated with the National Alternative Breaks Movement, are a great way for students to spend their breaks throughout the semester by helping those in need and learning valuable skills along the way.

Interested students can apply through the MyBW page. Selected applicants will then be interviewed by two different members of the leadership team. Participants for the upcoming Alternative Breaks are then selected after a review of their application and individual interviews.

Photo Courtesy of Peyton Flasco

“If it were an ideal situation, anyone who goes on an AB trip would be…eager to serve and learn about the population and location they are traveling to, as well as someone who is flexible and patient,” relayed Zac Boyer, the graduate intern who oversees the Alternative Break trips.

The next upcoming Alternative Break for the semester is the Summer break, which will take place from May 7th to May 15th. One team will travel to Michigan to work together with the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park on issues regarding environmental justice.

The second team will go to Minnesota and tackle problems with youth and HIV/AIDS in collaboration with One Heartland, whose mission is to “improve the lives of children, youth and families facing significant health challenges or social isolation,” as stated on their website. Next, another team will head to Cleveland to discuss issues in health and social justice. Lastly, students involved in the International Service Experience will leave the confines of the United States and head to Guatemala to deal with issues in education and health.

Over the course of the academic year, the Office of Community Outreach holds several other Alternative Break trips.

The most recent trip occurred between March 4th and March 11th during BW’s Spring Break. Students went to New York City, NY; New Orleans, LA; Washington, D.C.; Wheeling, WV; and Clarkston, GA. Students collaborated on efforts regardng LGBT+ advocacy and support, Project Homecoming, and food justice, and Something New – a program dedicated to teaching children appropriate methods of expression through activism and art – respectively.

The first trip each year takes place during BW’s Fall break in mid-October. In 2016, students traveled to Cleveland where they focused on suicide prevention and awareness. Shortly thereafter, another group of students traveled to Detroit, Michigan from November 23rd to November 26th to aid in poverty, homelessness and refugee communities.

The next trip took place through Winter break from December 10th to the 17th. Considered the official Fraternity and Sorority Life trip, teams traveled to three separate locations; Chicago, IL; New Orleans, LA; and San Antonio, TX. The students worked at the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Child+ Family Center, where they worked with children with mental and behavioral challenges; with Lower Nine to help alleviate the damage done by Hurricane Katrina in the Lower Nine district; and at the San Antonio Food Bank.