Auburn Family

Alternative Student Breaks Makes An Impact

People say the years you spend at college are the best years of your life. Time flies and they are gone before you know it. Your goal during college is to find your niche, and this calls for trial and error.

College students are in the perfect position to test the waters. Auburn students are exploring a sea of opportunity. From Greek life to volunteering or studying abroad, Auburn offers a variety of student organizations that will satisfy almost anything imaginable.

Auburn’s Alternative Student Breaks, commonly known as ASB, stands out from the rest. ASB helps students travel around the world, giving back by working on short-term service projects. All of ASB’s trips take place during the University’s academic breaks.

ASB allows you to be immersed in a foreign environment. You get to interact with diverse communities and experience social and environmental issues in a new way. The volunteer work varies, but most of Auburn’s ASB trips focus on community building.

The meaning of community building varies in different situations. Senior Kristen Stallings, former ASB participant, defines community building as “stimulating pride and giving hope to people in an area that needs it.”

Stallings experienced this first hand while volunteering at a church in La Carpio, a Costa Rican slum, where she and others were responsible for laying hand-mixed concrete down as the foundation for a new project.

“Even though we weren’t the best concrete-mixers in the world, the fact that we were there to help and cared [about the people] meant so much to such a lost community,” said Stallings.

Participating in one of Auburn’s ASB trips will leave you with a huge sense of satisfaction. Along with great memories, you will discover new friendships and personal strengths. Whether it’s working with under-privileged children, building houses or working with endangered animals at a rescue center, the experience will impact your life for the better.

Senior Jillian Taylor accompanied Stallings on her ASB trip. They talk about their favorite memory from Costa Rica. Taylor remembers with a smile traveling through the streets of San Jose and La Fortuna. “It was a culture shock,” said Taylor, and she was amused by her efforts to communicate in a language foreign to her. Stallings remembers the days spent at the orphanage in La Fortuna. She said, “the smiles we brought to those kids’ faces and the tears they shed when we left are memories that will never be taken from me.” Reflecting further Stallings said, “bring[ing] smiles to the kid’s faces warmed my heart more than any spring break trips combined ever could.”

ASB is a great way to get involved in the Auburn community and to connect with communities around the world. The idea of this kind of experience can be intimidating, but by traveling out of your comfort zone, you will gain so much more than Sky Miles or another stamp on your passport.

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