Alternative Spring Break makes meaningful impact

For many college students, spring break means a chance to get away to a warmer climate for some fun in the sun. For many students at Cornell College, spring break has been a time to roll up their sleeves and do community service by participating in Cornell’s 12th annual Alternative Spring Break. This year approximately 60 students took trips to five locations and worked with community organizations to perform service and learn about issues that affect others. Destinations were:

  • Atlanta, Georgia, where the group focused on urban youth and education.
  • Washington, D.C., to focus on homelessness and poverty.
  • Boston, Massachusetts, to focus on immigration and resettlement.
  • Naples, Florida, to focus on animal rescue.
  • South Carolina, to focus on disaster relief.
The Washington, D.C., group focused on homelessness and poverty.
The Washington, D.C., group focused on homelessness and poverty.

Community service has long been an important part of a Cornell College education. In 2015 Cornell ranked third in the country among 156 Breakaway Spring Break Chapters nationally for the percentage of students participating, according to Break Away, a national nonprofit devoted to supporting alternative break programs.

Groups participating in the program spend the year planning the trip, fundraising, and educating themselves about the issues relevant to their service site. The trips, sponsored by the college’s Office of Civic Engagement, follow the “Break Away” approach. Established by the national leader in coordinating and spearheading the Alternative Spring Break movement, the Break Away model includes eight components: Strong direct service, orientation, education, training, reflection, reorientation, diversity, and alcohol and drug free.