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Students Serve on Alternative Breaks

Alma College students will serve various communities across the country as part of their winter break from Feb. 24-29. Opportunities include conservation at the Grand Canyon, aiding an animal sanctuary, and building homes with Habitat for Humanity.

In addition to completing service projects, students will explore the communities that they are in and bring their experiences back to campus to share with others. By stepping outside their comfort zones, they will learn about themselves too.

“Alternative Breaks are a great opportunity for students to use their time off to serve others and explore new communities,” said Maddie Wentworth, assistant director of career and personal development. “Students form close relationships with their peers who join them and have the chance to reflect on what they enjoy about service.”

Alternative Breaks happen three times throughout the academic year. The first opportunity occurs during fall break. Students who choose this option have a shorter Alternative Break and tend to stay in Michigan. The other opportunities occur between fall and winter semesters and during winter break.Students in the Everglades National Park on an Alternative Break, Spring 2018.Students in the Everglades National Park on an Alternative Break, Spring 2018.

All students can participate in Alternative Breaks, regardless of year, major or interests. There are a wide variety of options; previous students have worked in a homeless shelter, served at a soup kitchen, provided disaster relief and much more.

“I hope that students take away a better understanding of the needs of different populations and communities and come back with a renewed motivation to serve others,” said Wentworth. “Alternative Breaks may only last a week, but students can take their experiences with them for the rest of their lives and use them to better the world wherever they go.”

Winter 2020 Alternative Breaks opportunities include:

  • Environmental stewardship at the Grand Canyon - Students will assist the National Parks Services on multiple on-going projects for conservation activities.
  • Animal welfare at the Horse Creek Wildlife Sanctuary and Animal Refuge - Students will support the sanctuary’s work through helping with the animals, grounds and facilities.
  • Habitat for Humanity in Salem County, New Jersey - Students will build and repair homes of residents who may not be able afford them without assistance.

Applications for winter break 2020 are closed at this time. Students can apply for future Alternative Breaks on the Alma College website.

Story published on February 21, 2020