Oct 042011
Authors: Emily Horn

Senior environmental health major Anupama Mehrotra has traveled through California helping children, she helped rescue animals in New Orleans and plans on going to Kansas City, Mo., all thanks to CSU’s alternative breaks.

Alternative breaks, which are run through the Student Leadership Involvement and Community Engagement, focus on service and education about a social issue facing our world today. The application process for these breaks and the SLiCE office will be holding information sessions in order to answer students’ questions about the trips.

The applications for the spring break 2012 are due on Oct. 19, and all students can apply.

Information sessions will be held on Oct. 11 and 12 at 6 p.m. They are not required for students who are interested, but will be quick, informal meetings for students to learn more about each specific trip and ask any questions they may have.

Alternative breaks began during the 1999-2000 school year with only one trip to an Indian Reservation. Now there are 18 different trips for students to choose from.

“There are a bunch of new locations this year, which is always exciting,” said Jen Johnson, Assistant Director of SLiCE.

There will be one international trip to Panama this year and a number of domestic trips to locations such as Seattle, California, Utah, Florida, New York City, New Orleans and more.

The cost of the trips varies by location, and students can ask questions about this during the information sessions.

Junior Sociology major Jared Woodrow expressed his feelings about the cost of the trips.
“I would probably go on one if I didn’t have to pay,” Woodrow said.

For students who are interested in taking an alternative break but do not have the financial means, SLiCE offers grants. This is the second year they have offered this.

SLiCE has a total of $10,000, which can be awarded to students going on a trip. Students must apply for a grant and may be given up to $500 each to help fund their trip.

Johnson has been working with alternative breaks for the past six seasons and sees great value in its effect on students.

“Inherently, travel in and of itself can be very transformative,” Johnson said. “And when you add the service component onto that they come away with a deeper understanding of these social issues.”

Mehrotra has been on three different alternative breaks and plans to go on a fourth one this spring.
“I think alt. break is a hidden diamond here at CSU,” Mehrotra said. “It can really help you find your passion.”

_Collegian writer Emily Horn can be reached at news@collegian.com. _

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