Alternative Breaks Program connects CU students to communities

Published: March 24, 2014

This spring break, CU-Boulder's Alternative Breaks Program has sent students far and wide to engage in community-based service projects.

One of the projects is close to home (Estes Park), where students are helping with relief efforts from the devastating September 2013 floods. Other groups of students are spending the week in New Orleans (post-Katrina work), Hubert, N.C. (wildlife rehabilitation on the coast), Cincinnati (homelessness and urban poverty) and several other locations.

"The Alternative Breaks Program gives students an opportunity to help communities that have been hurt by disasters, but also to learn about issues faced by members of communities with whom they may otherwise have little or no direct contact," said Jen Ross, director of the Volunteer Resource Center on campus, which runs the Alternative Breaks Program. "The program has provided an out-of-classroom learning experience on important social issues such as poverty, disaster relief, inner-city education and many other issues for hundreds of our students."

Other alternative break trips this spring include:

  • Bridging the gap: HIV/AIDS and youth empowerment (Los Angeles)
  • Science in the Sequoias: Educating youth in Boulder Creek (Boulder Creek, Calif.)
  • Preventing the destruction of America's most beautiful destination: Environmental conservation in Catalina Island (Catalina Island, Calif.)
  • Clownin' around: Bringing fun, friendship and joy back into health care (Hillboro, W.Va.)
  • Beyond the wall: Education on the border and personalizing the impact (Tucson, Ariz.)

The Alternative Breaks Program also offers trips each year during Maymester and winter break

"Ultimately, we hope these experiences help move students toward action to make a positive impact in their own communities," Ross said.