Spring Break: for many, the first words that come to mind when this phrase is mentioned are partying, tanning, and relaxing. College spring breaks have been stereotyped in many movies as a week-long party, full of irresponsible decisions and hazy nights. However, a new trend is emerging that combines a fun trip with giving back to the community.
What is an Alternative Spring Break?
An alternative spring break is all about taking your week off from school to volunteer your time and energy. These include a wide variety of trips, such as rebuilding communities that have suffered from natural disasters, helping build homes for the poor, and making over community centers. Alternative spring break trips still give you the opportunity to travel, whether domestically or abroad. At first this may seem like a sacrifice, but in actuality students who are going on these trips aren’t giving up their spring breaks, they are making them mean something.
How Can You Get Involved?
Your spring break plans may already be set for this year, but it’s not too early to start planning for next year! A wide variety of organizations coordinate alternative spring breaks, meaning there are many options for a trip—you can find the perfect fit. Your university may offer a trip through the school, so you’ll get to meet new people on campus through giving back. If your university doesn’t offer a program, or you’re looking for something different, there are many options. United Way, a non-profit organization with the goal of a “world where all individuals and families achieve their human potential through education, income stability and healthy lives,” organizes many of these trips annually. ProjectsAbroad, founded in 1992, sends over 8,000 people on service trips every year and has recently launched many more week-long options that work well with spring break. Habitat for Humanity’s Collegiate Challenge program offers 200 locations for students to participate in week-long service programs. These are available year-round, so you’re not limited to just a spring break trip. With these and many more options available, choosing to spend your break giving back can be a rewarding experience for yourself and your community.