Alternative Spring Breaks

Feb 282012
Authors: Sabrina Norwood

For most students, spring break consists of parties and tanning. But for the 175 students enjoying an alternative spring break, their time off will consist of service learning projects.

This year, there will be 18 trips offered through SLiCE for an alternative spring break. Alternative spring breaks consist of a six day program where students will either drive or fly to their chosen location and participate in activities oriented toward social issues.

“We offer alternative breaks because it is one of the many opportunities for students to be actively involved in current social issues by being immersed in cross-cultural experiences,” said Adrienne Bouveron, student coordinator with SLiCE Alternative Breaks, in an email to the Collegian.

SLiCE’s longest running trip is to Catalina, Calif. where this is their 15th year. Other trips include an international trip to Panama, Georgia, South Dakota, California, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah and many others.

“The yearly routine is we select Site Leaders in May, contact agencies over summer, start Site Leader training in September, and applications for participants are available by October, groups are finalized by November,” Bouveron said.

The price range for students to participate varies. The cheapest is $250 to South Dakota and the most expensive being to Panama for $1700.

But, despite the cost, sophomore Halle Musfeldt said her alternative break trip to Kenya over winter break was one of the most amazing experiences.

“I want to go back so badly,” Musfeldt said, adding that she spent most of her time teaching a conservation club for local 5th grade girls.

“It made me value my relationships with people more than (value) what I own,” Musfeldt said.

While she’s not participating in an alternative break this year, Musfeldt added that she hopes to be a site leader next year.

“I just want to go out and help more people,” she said.

Much like Musfeldt, freshman communications major Alex Puccini said he wasn’t able to partake in the program this year.

“I considered doing it [alternative spring break] this year, I thought it would be fun but my family had a trip planned instead,” Puccini said. “I was interested, I just feel that I didn’t get enough information.”

The lack of information is something that SLiCE plans on changing.

“We have an intense marketing plan to recruit participants and multiple levels of selection so the process is competitive,” Bouveron said.

Although the process is competitive, the rewards are worth it.

“It would feel rewarding to help people, although the process might take me out of my comfort zone,” Puccini said.

Collegian writer Sabrina Norwood can be reached at News editor Erin Udell contributed to this story.

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