For the past eight years, Alternative Spring Break has offered students a unique option to spend their spring break. This occurs by planning service projects where Fresno State students can volunteer four days during their spring vacation. Established in the year 2008, when a collaboration between the Student Involvement Center and the Jan & Bud Richter Center for Community Engagement and Service-Learning (RCSL) occurred, Alternative Spring Break accomplished the following: serving over 7,702 hours of community service within Fresno County, completing projects in 19 different sites, and including 191 past participants who volunteered during their vacation.
Alternative Spring Break encourages peers and students to contribute to society, and create changes, by serving their community and engaging in fun projects. The pilot project was planned during the fall of 2008 and became executed in the spring of 2009. Consequently, the first projects included the Community Food Bank, the Bulldog Pantry, the United Way Book Bank, and the Catholic Charities; they started with nine student participants and gradually evolved by increasing the participant capacity to 30+ volunteers.
How does Alternative Spring Break work?
Students apply to become a Team leader during the summer; once the fall semester begins, they start their journey by creating a project to execute in the spring. YES, it takes a whole year to make four days become a reality! Student leaders have to conduct research on the organization they wish to partner with, and develop a project students that will learn from. Additionally, student leaders search for donations to make their projects a reality, applying for grants like the Friends for Civic Engagement – a project coordinated by Rich and Dwayne Berrett. Furthermore, the Jan & Bud Richter Center for Community Engagement and Service-Learning have greatly supported Alternative Spring Break and other service-related programs.
I have been involved with Alternative Spring Break for the past four years; every time I held a different position, Alternative Spring Break allowed me to grow as an individual and continue my passion for serving the community. I think it’s amazing to see how many Fresno State students apply every year and the dedication, commitment, and willingness they carry to serve their community. The sites change every year, depending on the team leader’s interests and project planning. Student participants do not need any prior
experience or involvement to apply. In fact, Alternative Spring Break is open to all majors who are interested in serving their community. This year’s projects include River Tree, Stone Soup, and the Discovery Center. I am excited about the projects for this semester: a river clean up down the San Joaquin River, beautification projects, painting, and teaching a S.TE.M (science. Technology, engineering, and math) camp at Stone Soup.
Applications are available online HERE or in person at the University Student Union Room 306.
Alternative Spring Break allows students to connect with peers and network. You feel like family during the time spent with everyone. A family that serves together stays together.
What are you looking forward to during your spring vacation?