In 1988, SMU’s first alternative break trips traveled to a Brownsville refugee camp and a New Orleans soup kitchen. Founded the year before, the program provided an opportunity for students to perform community service during their time off.
This year, SMU Alternative Breaks offers 20 trips during fall, winter, spring and summer breaks – an all-time high.
Alternative Breaks (AB) is a student organization providing direct community service opportunities during every academic break. Performing service alongside reputable non-profit organizations, the AB program takes students, faculty and staff to communities in-need both domestically and internationally. Participants have the opportunity to do quality service, gain education about important social issues and reflect on how they can create positive social change.
During Fall Break 2014 (Oct. 11-14), AB offered six trips where students participated in various community service initiatives throughout Texas and Oklahoma. Sarah Day, a senior communications major in Meadows School of the Arts, participated in the San Antonio trip during her October break. Sarah addressed issues of food availability and access by working directly with individuals and families.
“Alternative Breaks is one of the best things I have done in college. On each trip you learn so much about different social issues and because of the way AB places students into groups, you also get to experience a diversity of opinions from all over campus. Each time I come away with 10 new friends that I otherwise wouldn’t have had, and it has been cool to work with them to make a difference in the Dallas community once we come back,” shared Day.
Due to increased participant applications, AB added a third Winter Break trip for the first time. During the upcoming Winter Break students can travel to Austin, Ecuador or Puerto Rico.
Additionally, there are 11 domestic and international AB trips offered during Spring Break from March 8-14, 2015. These include trips to Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Washington, D.C., Costa Rica, Missouri, Louisiana, Georgia, New York and Texas.
For more information on any of these trips or to find the Alternative Breaks application, visit the SMU Alternative Breaks webpage.