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Alternative Spring Break March 2017

What is Alternative Spring Break?

Alternative Spring Break is a service immersion experience where college students spend academic breaks traveling to domestic and international destinations to participate in community service, explore exciting places, and make new friends! Through a rigorous education component, direct service, and reflection, College of Charleston Alternative Break members promote self-awareness, respect for diversity, and become civic-minded individuals who are conscious of social issues and the importance of being an active citizen.

Alternative Break provides students with multiple opportunities to serve a different communities and address a variety of social issues. Through intentional pre-departure meetings, participants are exposed to the importance of education, orientation, training, and reflection.

In addition, the Alternative Break programs enable College of Charleston students, faculty, and staff the ability to address complex and systemic 21st-century problems. Most importantly, it provides participants with the knowledge and skills to become advocates for sustainable solutions.

Alternative Break can also be a pathway to employment. According to Dr. Chris Spera, CNCS's Director of Research & Evaluation and one of the authors of the report "Volunteering as a Pathway to Employment" active volunteers were 27% more likely to get a job than non-volunteers. And the relationship held stable across gender, race, ethnicity, age, location, and unemployment rate. Look below to see how Alterative Break lead to a job for one alum.

This Spring Break, students traveled to Charlotte, NC to participate in direct service with Habitat for Humanity Charlotte; Miami, FL to address human trafficking with the Life of Freedom Center; Washburn, TN to learn about mindfulness and environmental justice with Narrow Ridge Earth Literacy Center; and Las Marias, Puerto Rico to explore sustainable living and permaculture at Plenitud Iniciativas. In total students contributed over 1,400 hours of direct service, which has an estimated dollar value of volunteer time equaling $32,984.  

Alternative Break also allows faculty and staff the opportunity to engage with our students outside of the College. This year, Mike Antoine, Office Manager of the Office of the Dean of Students, participated as a Learning Partner in our Habitat for Humanity event in Charlotte, NC.

Learn more about the opportunities offered through Alternative Spring Break and The Center for Civic Engagement.


Above is the College of Charleston Habitat for Humanity workers during Alternative Spring Break, 2017

Charlotte, NC Alternate Spring Break participants

Above is a photo of the Alternative Spring Break Participants with their motto "Eat. Sleep. Volunteer."

The Habitat House built by College of Charleston Alternate Spring Break participants

Take a look at that great house that the College of Charleston Alternative Spring Break 2017 participants helped to build.

How Service Work became a job!
Stephanie Brown - pictured in the photo just above - participated in ASB 2016 to Charlotte, NC working with Habitat for Humanity Charlotte. She was so inspired by her experience that she decided to apply for a job, and was hired, through the Habitat for Humanity affiliate upon graduation. Since, Stephanie has spent the past year as an AmeriCorps National addressing the country’s housing crisis. Her transformational learning experience through the Alternative Break program lead to a very meaningful job opportunity. 

Please read more about Alternative Spring Break  Learn and Serve opportunities!