Students making a difference with their breaks

Casey Cargle

The Alternative Break Program has been putting in time by helping nearby communities as well as international ones.

An Alternative Break is a week or weekend-long community service trip focused on certain issues ranging from poverty, hunger, homelessness and even animal rights. Before the trip, students spend their time preparing by going to four hour long meetings and various other meetings with their groups.

Trips consist of traveling from Sunday through Friday all over the Southeast doing various community services. There are also international trips where students will do projects that relate to the issue they have learned about. Most of the international trips the alternative break program has taken have been to the Caribbean.

“Last year we went to the Bahamas, and worked with the YMCA in a community center. We went to Jamaica and worked with a day center for folks with a mental illness, and then we went to the Dominican Republic to help expand an existing school in a small mountain village,” Katy Kaesebier, coordinator of alternative breaks and community partnerships, said.

The Alternative Break Program keeps the destination of the trips a secret, only releasing the causes that they will be helping with that week. Even though they could not release the destinations for this upcoming winter break, there are going to be eight trips offered. The winter trips will be looking at some new issues like cultural awareness as well as continuing issues the group has worked with in the past, like animal rights. Applications for these trips will be available Sept. 29.

“We want people to choose a trip based on something their interested in learning more about, not just trying to get a cheap trip to Louisiana,” Kaesbier said.

The Alternative Break Program has began weekend trips that mainly work with Rebuilding Macon, which is similar to Habitat for Humanity, doing a lot of home renovation for people who can not afford to do it themselves. There will be two trips this fall semester and only one next spring due to the two week-long trips in the fall.

How much does it cost to go on a trip with the Alternative Break program? Most of the funds are provided through student fees and fund raising but typically for a weekend trip it cost students $25. The majority of the week long domestic trips cost $150 and occasionally when flying is involved it can go up to about $350. International trips are $500. These fees cover transportation, food, housing and program fees if work sites require them. They also offer scholarships to help pay for a students trip.

“Its a great way to just meet new people, see new places in the country and get that hands on experience,” Kaesbier said


Winter Break 2014

Apply: September 29 – October 10

Dates: December 14-19

Spring Break 2015

Apply: January 12-23

Dates: March 15-20

May Break 2015

Apply: March 2-22

Dates: May 10-15