Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Apply For Alternative Spring Break
Start writing a post
Lifestyle

Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Apply For Alternative Spring Break

A solid case for my favorite on campus experience

56
Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Apply For Alternative Spring Break
AlternativeBreaks

Guess how much I love the UVM ASB program? Enough to write an article about it! I've been involved with Alternative Spring Break on the UVM campus since my first year of college in 2013; first as a participant, then as a site leader, and now a director. ASB is an entirely student run organization that sends 15 groups of UVM students across the country to engage in meaningful, intentional, and reflective community service. If you go to UVM, are interested in expanding your understanding of volunteer work, and love to travel, we have the program for you! Here are the top ten reasons why ASB might just be right up your alley!

1. You'll be doing community service with an impact

I've been involved with civic engagement and volunteer work for a while on campus, and something that I've learned is how important it is to be critical, mindful, and intentional. I am generally hesitant to participant in volunteer abroad programs because I notice that there are often damaging savior-complexes attached to them that dis-empower the communities they work with.

ASB works actively to create a program that isn't trying to impose resources on other communities and non-profits across the country. We aren't saying, "We're here to help you! Because we're helpful!", we're saying, "What do you need from us? You know your community better than we do, and we want to learn how to offer support in ways that you need."

Community service work is done with meaning, education, and advocacy. When a person engages in this model of service work, they're facilitating growth toward more active citizenship.


2. You can make long-lasting friendships

Putting ten people in a van for a week and sending them into unfamiliar territory absolutely sounds like a recipe for disaster. Fortunately, I've seen just the opposite on our ASB trips. When people are sharing such close quarters and trying to navigate a new routine altogether, they connect. I have seen some of the closest friendships develop from people participating on ASB together. During this experience, participants and leaders have the opportunity to learn about one another deeply, often during vulnerable conversations. Groups often come out of this experience joining clubs together, having "family dinners", and reminiscing over their favorite ASB memories.

3. You get to travel and see a bit more of the country

ASB programs are all domestic (traveling outside of the US would be too much paperwork, honestly) and outside of the New England area. In the past, our trips have gone to locations such as: Miami, in order to arrive at their locations safely. Drives lasting as long as 24 hours mean there is potential for driving through a plethora of states, communities, and historic sites. For me, this has meant being in awe at the gas prices and the flattened topography of the mid-west.

4. You'll have the opportunity to learn from the organizations we work with

As mentioned before, a pillar of the Break-away service model is the importance of community empowerment. The community organizations that may be supporting programming related to disaster relief, animal welfare, poverty, justice, and environmental conservation are all well-versed and passionate about the social issues most pertinent to their work. There is a world of experts from these communities who have the most grounding and profound knowledge to share with us. They will ensure that we are getting something new with each experience through hands-on service work, an understanding of the community at large, and authentic conversations about social justice and equity. It's inspiring and humbling, to say the least.

5. You get to come home with the coolest spring break stories

One of my favorite pieces of the ASB experience is when you finally get to go home for the week and have the opportunity to sit with and reflect on your work. This is also when you'll be one-upping your friends' spring break experiences (even if they did an ASB trip too, you'll want to assert that your group was the best, probably). You'll try to explain inside-jokes, talk about your service site with a most burning admiration, and show everyone your new Facebook album.

6. You get free, home-cooked meals for a week

Okay, and by "home-cooked", I actually mean "group-cooked". You and your group members will prepare meals for the week and have the chance to do some family-styled eating. And by "free", I mean "free". I mean, there is a fee associated with the ASB program, but all meals, housing, and travel expenses are covered within that. You get free food, that's the moral of this. You also get to share mealtime conversations with the superb folks you're connecting with. It's a great way to further connect and share with each other, and, to reiterate once more: FOOD.

7. You get to learn more about yourself

Prior to my first ASB experience, I had a limited understanding of what community service meant to me. I think I was very much developing an individual definition, but I still had not actively worked to take an inventory of my own biases, expectations, and intentions. From my own experiences with ASB, I learn more and more about how I want to approach the world and learn from communities that are facing unfair, systematic oppression. I learn more about how to prioritize self-care in order to be a more compassionate and available citizen. I learn more about how to understand my own needs in order to empathize with what needs the communities may be having. I do believe that ASB strives to teach all participants that we're all still learning and growing, and we can use that to support the communities around us.

8. You rock out to some rad van jams

I mean, what's a road-trip without a mix-tape and a sing along? Yeah, exactly. There is a significant amount of preparation I have put into creating the perfect Spotify "van jams" playlists; a solid playlist sets the foundation for a solid journey ahead. We encourage each participant to create their own playlist to share with others on the road as a way to communicate through musical taste and interests. At first, I've noticed that the need to impress other group members naturally manifests as one of those "Put on whatever! I'll listen to anything!" attitudes. By about day two or three of the trip, the battles for the aux cord begin.

9. You can connect with a larger community at UVM

Not only are you able to make lasting friendships with your ASB group, you're able to join the UVM ASB community at large. Sometimes group members from one trip will schedule to bond with another. Sometimes groups are able to link up to do some organization fundraising together. Once you've done ASB, you've joined an informal group of hundreds of alumni who'd probably say something to you along the lines of: "Whoa dude! I did ASB too! Changed my life! Sweet!"

I notice that participants who arrive back on campus from ASB are itching to do some community organizing and management on our own campus. I've seen plenty of ASB participants form there own clubs, solidarity events, community service projects, etc. Participants are also more aware of resources available in the Student Life office, more specifically, the office of Leadership and Civic Engagement (I call them the "always got your back" crew, seriously, such a beautiful arrangement of humans).

10. Fruit snacks

Not kidding, y'all. The boxes we get are in bulk.


Please apply HERE.


Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Alexis Hoffman

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we all know that cutting out social interaction has taken its toll.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

I Asked Instagram How 2020 Was, And Maybe It Wasn't The Worst Year Ever

2020 is a year to remember but it's not as bad as we made it out to be.

26601

It's finally 2021 and we're honestly all just happy that 2020 is over. I decided to ask my Instagram followers how they felt about 2020 and the results were a little more mixed up than expected.

Keep Reading... Show less

Ever since I watched "How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days," I've been a major Matthew McConaughey fan. I've seen most of his movies, and I definitely got way too excited when he finally made an Instagram! So when he announced he would be releasing a memoir titled "Greenlights," I knew I absolutely had to get my hands on this book. And so did the rest of the world, as the book began to flood social media.

Truthfully, I would much rather read a fiction book and dive into another world than read a nonfiction book - even if it is one of my favorite celebrities. But I had a feeling this book wouldn't disappoint or bore.

Keep Reading... Show less
Entertainment

The Armie Hammer Scandal Discourse Is Kink Shaming And Harming Actual Victims

The rumors surrounding Armie Hammer has resulted in some very toxic and harmful discourse.

7210

Sex is something that occupies a very significant place in our lives. Even asexual people can have an active sex life. With the various types of people that comprise this world, it obviously results in various sexual interests. And unconventional people can engage in some pretty unconventional sex practices. Even the most conventional people on the surface might surprise us with their sexual fantasies.

Keep Reading... Show less
Entertainment

The Top 10 'Sex and the City' Episodes You Need To Revisit Before The New Series

In anticipation for the upcoming series, "And Just Like That," here are the ten "Sex and the City" episodes you need to revisit.

4743
HBO

"Sex and the City" has become quite the franchise since its premiere in the late nineties. The series lasted six seasons and even produced two films. Fans of the show were anxiously awaiting a revival, even if their hopes seemed futile. Kim Cattrall, who plays Samantha Jones, recently spoke out saying she would not return to the show. Cattrall explained that she was never friends with her co-stars and even had a difficult relationship with Sarah Jessica Parker.

In the wake of Cattrall's revelation, rumors swirled the series would come back without her. On January 10, a new teaser was posted on social media for the new series, "And Just Like That." Now that a revival is officially confirmed, here are the ten "Sex and the City" episodes you need to revisit.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

My New Tattoo Reminds Me To Love Everyone With Intention—And Yes, That Includes Myself

I've realized that love has almost nothing to do with agreeing and almost everything to do with grace.

11760
Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

I'm a big believer that everyone has a story.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lum3n

Women are known to lug around heavy purses with unnecessary items inside. How many of these useful items do you keep in your own bag? We need to be prepared with a list of things to have with us whenever we leave the house again.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments