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ALTERNATIVE BREAK PROGRAM
Alternative Break Program
What is the Alternative Break Program (ABP)?
Do you want to make a difference during your breaks from school? ABP trips are organized to domestic locations to explore social justice themes. Trips help students think critically about their role in the global society through service, activism, inquiry and leadership. Students are challenged to step out of their comfort zone while giving back.
RMU’s Alternative Break Program encourages students to become active citizens and life-long learners by immersing students in diverse communities throughout the country.
- Immerse participants in a new cultural context
- Raise awareness about social justice issues, the structures that perpetuate them and potential solutions
- Engage participants in meaningful service
- Connect the Alternative Break trips with social justice issues in the local community
- Encourage personal reflection through the lens of service
Alternative Fall Break Program
Previous Alternative Fall Break trips have been short excursions that focused on hunger and homelessness in the City of Pittsburgh. The trips were held on the weekend before Thanksgiving, allowing students to spend the beginning of their holiday break making a difference in our community.
On the trip students:
This "mini-break" experience allows students to participate in an Alternative Break without making a huge time commitment--a great option for individuals with busy schedules.
- Spent time volunteering with and learning about various nonprofits that address hunger and homelessness in the Pittsburgh region
- Had the opportunity to interact with less-fortunate community members through outreach efforts at the different service sites
- Participated in various service projects including preparing food at a local soup kitchen, distributing food at a local food pantry, sorting and and distributing daily necessities at a homeless outreach center
- Reflected upon their experiences in relation to issues of social justice, community, and culture
Want to participate in this year's AFB? Want to serve as a site leader? Applications will be available online and in the OSCE at the beginning of the fall semester, so stay tuned!
Alternative Spring Break Program
The Alternative Spring Break Program continues to evolve to reflect the interests of RMU students. In recent years, groups of students and staff have traveled to:
Want to participate in this year's ASB? Want to serve as a site leader? Applications will be available online and in the OSCE at the beginning of the fall semester, so stay tuned!
- Washington, D.C. to address hunger and homelessness by working in soup kitchens, homeless shelters, transitional housing units, and food pantries
- Birmingham, Alabama and Concord, North Carolina to build affordable housing for the working poor with Habitat for Humanity
- Atlanta to do flood relief work
- the Appalachian Mountains in both Virginia and West Virginia to do home repair for the rural poor
In essence, there are two elements to the program - the volunteer service and the immersion into the local community and culture. It is our hope that students will begin to understand and think critically about social justice issues in a greater context.
Be a Site Leader
Each trip is led by a team of two student Site Leaders. While two staff members accompany each trip, the real leaders of the trips are the student Site Leaders. Site Leaders go through extensive training before the trips to prepare them for every element from finances to conflict management. Site Leaders lead reflection exercises and become advocates for social change when they return to campus.