Campus News

Alternative Spring Break Applications Due Oct. 26

Story posted October 19, 2009

A young girl at a Native American reservation in Gallup, N.M., asked Alex Haskins '11 why he was spending his spring break there.

"I told her that I wanted to come to teach for my spring break instead of just going home," wrote Haskins as part of compilation of reflections on the 2009 Alternative Spring Break experience.

ASB Applications
McKeen Logo200.jpg

2010 ASB applications can be found here.

Applications are due by 5 p.m. Monday, October 26, 2009.

She asked me why. I said because I wanted to give back to a community in some way. She continued to ask why until I was forced to think for myself, 'Why Gallup?' Most of the kids wanted to get out of Gallup as soon as possible and there I was teaching nutrition for a week. I knelt down beside her and said, 'Because I wanted to meet you.' She blushed and went back to her work, but I stood up in deep thought. What was my original purpose in going to Gallup? The trip was not about being a resume-filler or getting a chance to see New Mexico. The purpose of the trip was to make REAL connections with students that would last longer than seven days. And I realized in that moment that I meant every word I had said to her.

Read other entries from "Reflections: 2009 Alternative Spring Break Trips."

Haskins was among 90 Bowdoin students who spent an intense week volunteering in communities across the country and the globe as part of the Alternative Spring Break program, coordinated through the Joseph McKeen Center for the Common Good.

Addressing challenges related to poverty, affordable housing, health and education, students not only leant a hand, but also invested their time in learning from community members and partner organizations. Alternative Spring Breaks 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.

This years trips include:

A Helping Hand in Immokalee, Fla.
Spend a week working with and learning from the migrant workers of Immokalee, Florida.

Adventures in Appalachia
Explore an Eastern Tennessee community through connections with the Cherokee Nation and service on social and environmental issues.

Book It to the Bronx
Learn about urban education in New York City through hands-on experiences with a Bronx public school and Harlem Children's Zone.

Counting on College
Work with students in under-served rural and urban schools in South Carolina to remove barriers to higher education.

Discovering D.C.
Work with organizations in Washington, D.C. to address issues of hunger and homelessness through direct service and advocacy.

New Perspectives in New Mexico
Explore issues of health education with a New Mexico Native American community through connections with local schools and hospitals.

Providing Safe Passage in Guatemala
Help break the cycle of poverty with Safe Passage, an organization that creates opportunities for Guatemala City's poorest children through the power of education.

Urban Promise
Lend a hand at Urban Promise in Camden, New Jersey while learning about issues of urban education.

Click here for more information and applications for Alternative Spring Break 2010.

For additional information, contact Sarah Seames at or at ext. 4133.

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