Break for social justice this spring

Alexandra McCray

Alexandra McCray

While some students have made plans to be beach bums at Panama City Beach this spring break, the Georgia Southern University Alternative Break program offers the opportunity to improve someone else’s life.

The AB program here at GSU, which is getting more and more popular, aims to take students outside their comfort zone of everyday life to truly understand, give back to, and make a lasting impact on a community or injustice they are passionate about.

Tenisha Martin, a senior English major, who went on the Restoring Hearts Damaged by Domestic Violence Alternative Break trip in May 2013 said, “I really liked it, it was my first trip. It was an interesting first trip. But it wasn’t the first trip I would have picked. It was really touching though because they had been through so much more than we as college students have been through, like being abused.”

AB trips give students the chance to meaningfully volunteer for a week during a break before they graduate. Because it’s easy to go to a soup kitchen during the holidays or the Boys and Girls club twice a year, but it takes real commitment to begin to look at the world differently and question why things are the way they are and decide to be the one that changes them, which is exactly what the AB program hopes to ignite in students.

“I went on the trip because I went to meet other people that like to volunteer, like if you go on the weekly trips you meet people but they aren’t consistent. But when you’re on an AB trip you meet people who really are dedicated to volunteering, and you get to come back and talk about what you accomplished,” said Martin.

While the AB program itself, along with number of students that go on and lead AB trips is growing, there will always be a need for more students to sign up. Because the more students that sign up, the more trips the program can offer, and the more the world can be changed.

I think Martin Luther King, Jr., summed it up when he once said “Our lives end the day we become quiet about things that matter.”