Joseph McKeen
Center for the Common Good

Apply: Alternative Spring Break 2012

Story posted September 26, 2011

The application deadline for 2012 Alternative Spring Break was 5:00 p.m. on October 26.  If you have any questions please contact Sarah Seames at 

Alternative Spring Break (ASB) trips provide a unique opportunity for students to participate in an intensive public service experience while increasing their understanding of significant social and environmental problems. Engaged in direct service relating to these problems, students live and work in communities with which they otherwise may have little contact. Being completely immersed in this environment over an extended period of time allows students to internalize their experience, which can serve as a springboard for a lifelong commitment to social change.

Applications for the 2012 ASB program are now available and are due by 5:00 p.m. Wednesday, October 26. Trips will take place the first week of spring break, from March 10-18. If you have questions regarding the application process, please contact Sarah Seames or Erin St. Peter.

Trip Prices

Trip prices reflect most costs associated with the ASB trip, including the roundtrip flight from your starting point, on-site transportation, food, accommodations, and recreational and cultural activities.  Trip prices do not include transportation to/from your starting point, baggage fees, or any specific supplies or vaccinations required for your destination.

Financial Aid

Scholarships are available for students with financial need as determined by the Student Aid Office.  If you would like to be considered for financial aid, be sure to check that option on the online application.  Only students that receive financial aid from Bowdoin are eligible for ASB scholarships.  However, group fundraising may help defray the cost for each student.

2012 Trips

A Fresh Start in Phoenix ($680)
Volunteer with the Arizona Lost Boys Center to gain an understanding of support systems available to African refugee families as they work to transition and thrive in the U.S. Volunteer with service and advocacy organizations, learn from refugees, and explore policy related to refugee services. Leaders: Sienna Kurland and Kate Leifheit

Building in Beards Fork ($650)
Travel to Beards Fork, West Virginia to work with the Southern Appalachian Labor School on home renovation to support sustainable, affordable housing. Learn from this former coal mining community about the challenges facing rural America and discover the beauty and charm of Appalachia. Leaders: Alexandra (Sasha) Davis and Melanie Gaynes

*Healthy Lives in New Mexico ($650)
Explore issues of health education with a Native American community in Crownpoint, New Mexico through connections with local schools and hospitals. Assist in classrooms, provide nutrition lessons, learn from local Native American health professionals, and explore the beauty of this Southwest community. Leaders: Meg Bunke and Tracie Goldsmith

*Journey to Georgia: Refugee Resettlement in the Greater Atlanta Area ($650)
Help recently resettled refugees from across the globe adjust to life in the United States by working closely with organizations that provide them with education, housing, and job training. Prepare for the arrival of newcomers and provide educational services to the current Atlanta refugee community while learning directly from refugees. Leaders: Matt Frongillo and Sarah Levin

*On the Streets of D.C.: Hunger and Homelessness in the Nation's Capital ($520)
Discover the impacts of poverty and learn about available services to alleviate hunger and homelessness within our nation's capital through service, public policy, and education. Volunteer with soup kitchens and shelters, learn from advocacy organizations and individuals affected by these issues, and visit Capitol Hill to meet with Maine’s elected officials. Leaders: Jordan Francke and Mariya Ilyas

*Operation Helping Hand: Environmental Justice in New Orleans ($705)
Work with Operation Nehemiah to address environmental and social issues through community building and green projects. Assist with rebuilding efforts, distribute energy efficient light bulbs, and experience the unique culture of New Orleans. Leaders: La'Shaye Ervin and Teona Williams

Providing Safe Passage in Guatemala ($1260)
Volunteer with Safe Passage, an organization that works with children in Guatemala City to combat poverty by creating opportunities and fostering dignity through the power of education. Assist Guatemalan teachers, meet the families that make their living off the Guatemala City dump, and learn about the legacy of Safe Passage's founder, Hanley Denning, Bowdoin class of '92. Leaders: Dijoia (DJ) Darden and Katie Woo

*Urban Promise ($390)
Learn about urban education while working with UrbanPromise to serve the community of Camden, New Jersey. Work with children in classrooms and volunteer with school maintenance projects that help keep the organization's operational costs low and maximize the benefits to the children they serve. Leaders: Johnny Coster and Mary Ridley

*The partner organizations on these trips are faith-based.  However, neither the trips themselves nor the ASB program have any faith requirements or planned, intentional religious components.

Program Expectations

All ASB participants will be required to attend weekly meetings at the end of fall semester and throughout the spring semester to prepare them for their service experience.  The seminar may include educational visits from Bowdoin professors, reading assignments, film viewings, and team-building activities.  During the trip, students participate in all service activities, daily reflection activities, and evening group activities at the site.  This is an immersion program, so living and serving conditions may be uncomfortable or very different than what students are accustomed to.  Upon their return, all ASB participants take part in Perspectives, an all-trip discussion and photo exhibit.


Begin your application by clicking on the link below. Applications are due by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, October 26.  Applicants will be notified by November 9.  Trips will take place the first week of spring break, March 10-18.  By submitting an application, you agree to take part fully in all the requirements of the Alternative Spring Break program. If you would like to see the questions on the application before filling it out, click here.





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Applications are DUE Wednesday, October 26 by 5 p.m.