Alternative Breaks, Spring 2015

SMU Alternative Breaks took students, faculty and staff to 10 cities during spring break 2015 to serve community organizations while also learning about issues such as the environment, poverty, public health and education. Learn more at

AB in New Orleans

An update from Olivia, a sophomore biology major: I woke up earlier than usual the morning we were about to set off for New Orleans. I just couldn’t sleep—it was my first time leading an Alternative Breaks trip, and I felt thrilled by the opportunity to work with disaster relief, an issue that still plagues the nature-torn city. Before the trip started, I had my reservations about leading a trip of my own. I felt nervous the first time we came together as a group. At our first pre-trip meeting I met the eyes of many strangers, but I dispelled my doubtful thoughts with the knowledge that service would bring us together. I have seen it happen time and again [...]

2015-04-20T17:06:47+00:00 April 13th, 2015|Alternative Breaks, Spring 2015|

Alternative Break in Costa Rica

An update from Danielle, a senior: I spent this past Spring Break in the Orosí Valley of Costa Rica, with a group of nine SMU students and two staff members, volunteering at the El Pueblito shelter for abused and neglected children. Our group at El Pueblito's entrance The children at El Pueblito were taken out of their homes by the equivalent of Child Protective Services in Costa Rica. El Pueblito has about nine different houses for children on site. Our group entirely remodeled a courtyard behind one of the houses by scraping all of the old paint off the four buildings surrounding the courtyard and repainting them with bright and cheerful new colors. We also spent time with [...]

2015-04-08T10:53:02+00:00 April 8th, 2015|Alternative Breaks, Spring 2015|

AB in Kimberton Hills

An update from Mimi, a senior double majoring in advertising and psychology:   Spring break – the two best words in the spring semester, am I right? For me this year was a very special spring break because it was going to be my last! Especially because of my crazy senior year schedule that includes a part-time job, an internship, being an exec in a student organization and a packed class schedule. I was looking forward to spring break even before school started. Now, being my typical scatter-brained self, did I realize that any hopes for this break would go out the door when I accepted a site leader position for an Alternative Breaks trip? Nope. I’ll be honest, in [...]

2015-04-09T09:57:32+00:00 April 7th, 2015|Alternative Breaks, Spring 2015|

Human trafficking: ‘An everybody issue’

An update from Aveline, a sophomore majoring in piano performance and accounting. She traveled to Atlanta for Alternative Spring Break to focus on human trafficking: My trip to Atlanta a few weeks ago may have easily been one of the best spring breaks I have ever experienced. I had always felt a little upset when I heard news of people being exploited against their will, but the seven days I spent serving in the Atlanta (aka United States’ number one hub for sex trafficking) opened my eyes to the alarming reality of this industry. My trip mates and I worked with three nonprofits throughout the week: Beloved Atlanta, Wellspring Living, and YouthSpark. We served and assisted these three organizations in whatever [...]

2015-04-02T17:13:51+00:00 March 29th, 2015|Alternative Breaks, Spring 2015|

Rediscovery in Taos

An update from Kendell, a first-year majoring in dance and minoring in human rights, who traveled to Taos, New Mexico for Alternative Spring Break: I was not sure what to expect when I arrived in Taos, New Mexico at the beginning of my spring break. No person can deny its natural geographic beauty and appeal. When the other SMU students and I arrived at the Roots and Wings, a public charter school about 40 minutes' drive from the SMU-in-Taos campus, we were all struck by the overwhelming view and serenity that surrounded the small school. With no more than 40 students, the school includes pre-Kindergarten to eighth grade, with three main classrooms and an art room. A small play area [...]

2015-04-02T17:19:48+00:00 March 28th, 2015|Alternative Breaks, Spring 2015|

Food insecurity made real

An update from Annika, a sophomore majoring in sociology: Spring Break: plenty of students flock to the beach or mountains, to music festivals, or home to see their family. But some choose to spend their week of freedom giving back to the community through Alternative Breaks. Usually I like to use my breaks as a time to relax, but this year I decided to try something new and signed up for the trip to Atlanta to focus on food insecurity at the Atlanta Community Food Bank (ACFB). Going on an Alternative Break trip is quite the experience, and being able to use my time to give back to the community is rewarding in ways that a typical spring break experience [...]

2015-04-02T17:22:46+00:00 March 27th, 2015|Alternative Breaks, Spring 2015|