Carleton University’s Alternative Spring Break (ASB) program is an immersive community-engaged learning experience that connects students to domestic and international partners committed to positive social change. During the Winter Reading Week, students learn about social, environmental, and cultural issues impacting their host community, while supporting meaningful, community-identified projects.
ASB is a year-long program that culminates with a week of action, reflection, and social engagement with a partner organization during Reading Week in February. In 2018/2019, six different experiences will be offered. Each will be focused on a specific theme, including access to education, food security, environmental sustainability, and access to clean water.
The Reading Week experience is preceded by months of active preparation. Students participate in pre-departure sessions, local community service, fundraising efforts, and team-building exercises. Students are also encouraged to engage in individual reflection and collective inquiry, identifying connections with their academic studies and personal experiences throughout the program. These activities enrich students’ learning experience, strengthen community, and help them understand their role as catalysts for social change.
The Alternative Spring Break program works with several domestic and international partners committed to positive social change. The aim of the program is to develop reciprocal relationships between the participants and the communities that are hosting them. Students learn about important topics the community is working to address, while simultaneously contributing to projects that are happening within the community. This year, students will focus on the themes of access to education and clean water, environmental sustainability, and food security. They will contribute to projects such as the construction of a pre-primary school kitchen, educational workshops on environmental sustainability, and the construction of classrooms.
With your help, even more dedicated and deserving students will be able to participate this year.
Students accepted into the ASB program are required to pay program fees to our partner organizations and to cover the costs of travel and accommodations. Experiences range in cost from $250 for our local Ottawa experience, to over $2,000 for our international experiences. Funds from this campaign will make this opportunity more financially accessible to students who otherwise may not have been able to afford the cost of travel-related expenses and accommodations.
“Life-changing”, “eye-opening”, and “unforgettable” are some of the words participants have used to describe their ASB experience. Participating in this program allows students to develop their skills as leaders and to enhance their understanding of global issues. By working and learning alongside their host communities, students experience personal growth, improve their interpersonal and intercultural competency, and contribute to a community-identified goal.
Participants overwhelmingly agree that participation in ASB assists in the development of critical thinking and reflective skills, and in making real-world connections to one’s academic discipline. Students also report that the program helped them identify ways to contribute to positive social change into the future.
Your support makes this possible. Thank you!