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Why You Should Go On An Alternative Spring Break Trip

Every spring break, hundreds upon thousands of university students dash off to have the vacations of their undergraduate dreams; others take the time to relax, recharge, and clear their schedule entirely. Yet, still, there are students who decide to take a different approach, and use Spring Break as a time to volunteer. They travel to various organizations across the U.S., and in their own communities, with a group of fellow students on a week-long service trip. Alternative Spring Break, or ASB, is an opportunity I had heard of several times throughout my high school and college career but didn’t really start to look into until recently. After a little digging, I found the student group at my school, applied, and will be spending my spring break volunteering with the St. Bernard Project, a non-profit disaster relief organization. We will be working with their Hurricane Harvey Recovery efforts through assisting in rebuilding houses in Houston, Texas.

Alternative Spring Break is an opportunity for students to become engaged with something bigger than themselves; an opportunity to see the world through new lenses. I have personally never been to Texas, never seen a disaster recovery site, and have never helped rebuild houses before. But, I am incredibly excited for the opportunity and know that by the end of the week, I will have helped change a community. It is extremely important for young people to show the world that we care about doing something meaningful with our time, that we are capable of being civically engaged, and want to make a change in the world. More often every day, students are demonstrating that we care about our communities, we care about social issues, and are willing to get involved. ASB is another chance to get involved and be the change you want to see.


ASB also gives students the unique opportunity to travel and experience a new place while engaging with issues directly impacting that community. It’s a whole new experience and way to explore; if you’re someone who loves to give back, meet new people, and travel, this would be perfect for you. It is an immersive experience unlike any other volunteering opportunity – living and working in the community allows you to see the real needs and experiences of those people.

Now, the trips aren’t luxurious – many times the trips try to keep costs down by asking various churches or local schools to house the students while on their trip or find inexpensive hotels. You will be working for a majority of the week, and pay a fee to attend the trip that covers food and transportation costs. Being apart of an organization that impacts communities, on a large scale, is special and important to me; so, I go into this knowing that it’ll be my opportunity to make a unique impact. It might not be the Miami Beach vacation I’ll see plastered on Instagram – or the relaxing staycation my friends have planned – but it’s my own adventure, with new people, 1 van, and a project I care about.

If you would like to learn more about Alternative Spring Break, I encourage you to look for the group at your school, and if there isn’t one start one! I promise it’ll be worth it. If you’re interested in learning more about the St. Bernard Project, you can find out more information at http://sbpusa.org/where-we-help/harvey-recovery.

Savanna is a student at the University of Illinois at Chicago who loves to eat fries and discuss policy.
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