If you’re looking for something fun and rewarding to do that allows you to travel at an affordable rate for Spring Break, you may want to check out Auburn University Alternative Student Breaks (ASB).
The mission of ASB is to encourage an affordable, substance free experimental service learning project that encourages an understanding of pressing social issues in a significant way.
“Essentially, we take trips to help people in need whether it is for healthcare or home construction, but we always have an opportunity to sight-see and have fun as well,” says current ASB President, Hunter Whitten. Hunter, who’s a senior studying Building Construction, got interested in participating in ASB because he benefited from similar outreach when his hometown of Hackleburg, AL was destroyed by devastating tornadoes in April of 2011.
“Many people came from all over the country to my small town of 1,200 people to help out. Once I saw this I knew I wanted to find a way to give back,” he said. “So my freshman year at Auburn I began to search out a way that I could give back to others, and ASB allows students to do that (all while traveling the country), so it was a perfect fit.”
The trips are led by Student Site Leaders (SL) who, within certain constraints, are pretty much given free rein to coordinate the trips and set up everything in terms of location, issue, housing, food, etc.
Fun fact: Hunter served as SL for the Moore, OK trip, which was centered on disaster relief, the winter break of his sophomore year. “I wish I would have known how many opportunities were available with ASB. I would have gone on even more trips earlier in my time at Auburn,” he said.
The trips do have varying costs depending on the location. “All domestic trips are $250, and our international trips vary in cost from $1,500-$2,215,” Hunter explained. The MLK Day ASB trip students took to Selma, AL this year was as low as $20.
Throughout 2016-2017 ASB will take a total of 11 trips over four university breaks with approximately 165 total Auburn students volunteering over 4,000 hours of their time to serving others. Each trip will be focused on one of six different issues listed: affordable housing, animal welfare, hunger & homelessness, children's healthcare, community development, youth education and development.
Hunter urges anyone interested in making a difference in the lives of others to give ASB a shot. “On each of my 6 trips I have been able to work alongside a group and make an immediate impact to people who are in desperate need of help and this is one of the most rewarding feelings in the world,” he said.
This year for Spring Break, ASB will be taking 4 trips: Hendersonville, NC- Affordable Housing; Kissimmee, FL- Children's Healthcare; Quito, Ecuador- Community Development and San Cristobal, Dominican Republic- Community Development. For more information on ASB and the ways you can get involved and register for trips, visit https://auburn.collegiatelink.net/organization/asb.
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