Take a trip and volunteer with Alternative Spring Break

Katelyn Hill, Staff Reporter

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Those looking for a new volunteer experience, look no further. 

Alternative Spring Break (ASB), also called Alternative Breaks, is a nonprofit student initiative organization that sends students all over the country to volunteer for different organizations. 

These volunteer opportunities occur during the spring and winter breaks at Oakland University, with some even taking place on weekends. Zachary Johnson, the vice president of ASB, said the goal is to give students an experience they might have never had before, all while giving back to the communities they are visiting.

“It gives students the opportunity to get out of the classroom, get out of the school setting and make a difference in the community,” he said.

ASB will be offering eight trips this year, which vary from environmental conservation and wildlife preservation, to assisting those with disabilities and hurricane relief.

Brittany Kleinschmidt, the president of ASB, said it’s an eye-opening experience to see how other people live.

“It kind of humbles you a little bit because you realize your privilege and you also realize the way that you can help,” she said.

Kleinschmidt said ASB is different because it offers volunteer opportunities outside of Michigan, allowing students to be more immersed in different cultures. Students are still traveling, while giving back in the time that could have been spent hanging out, making the break more worthwhile.

The trips also give students the chance to make new friends with peers and make connections that might last a lifetime. 

“I went into my trip not knowing anyone.” Kleinschmidt said. “I knew my one friend I applied with and that was it. Ever since, I have met two of my best friends, all from alternative breaks.” 

Johnson still has connections with a family he met on his very first outing with the organization two years ago. 

“One of their children had a life-threatening illness and I still connect with them on Facebook, I’ve supported them through fundraisers and we chat every once in a while,” he said. “It’s really nice to actually form these connections, and it makes it much more meaningful to me.”

While ASB is a great way for students to volunteer, it also allows students to travel for relatively inexpensive prices. Typically, the prices for the trips fall at around $500, which covers transportation, lodging and food.

Students who go on one of the trips will also get one free day set aside to do whatever they want in the area.

Applications are open now, but the deadline to apply is Oct. 23 at 11:59 p.m. Those interested can visit ASB’s page on GrizzOrgs.

“We just really want to encourage students to apply and show how great of an experience it can be for them,” Johnson said.

For any questions or concerns, students can visit the Office for Student Involvement.