Alma College offers students the opportunity to participate in Alternative Breaks. Alternative Breaks allow students to perform community service in lieu of going home for major breaks. These community service opportunities can vary from working with the homeless to providing disaster relief.
According to the Alma College website, most alternative breaks include teams of eight to twelve students, along with a staff advisor. Before departing, students will attend meetings in order to better understand the expectations of the trip. These trips are available for affordable prices through a subsidy from the Responsible Leadership Institute.
“When I attended my last alternative break, I made a bunch of new best friends and connections with people I never thought I would talk to,” said Bridget Flanery (‘20). Flanery most recently attended the trip to the Everglades in National Parks, Florida, in December of 2018.
During this trip, students assisted the park with maintenance, and completed several tasks that otherwise would not have been completed due to lack of funding for the national park.
“This trip had a lot to do with nature and the environment, but when we reflected at the end of each day, we realized it was about more than that,” said Flanery. “I met so many people and made so many new inside jokes. I made lots of new friends while also serving”
“I did an alternative break to the Fowler Center in Mayville,” said Alexia Miller (‘20). According to the Fowler Center website, the Fowler Center provides yearround camping experiences for children and adults with developmental disabilities.
“I want to work with the special needs population so I got to do that very hands on,” said Miller. “I enjoyed helping them get to their various activities.”
Miller and Flanery both said that alternative breaks are about more than just the service. “I will admit I was scared at first, but it was a lot of fun and rewarding,” said Miller. Similarly, Flanery said, “when people would walk through the parks, we would realize just how rewarding it was to be behind the scenes. We also would start to realize that the sheer beauty of the national parks is not done without hard work by everyone that works there.”
“It brings joy into people’s lives,” said Miller, “it’s definitely an experience I don’t regret, and I want to go on another one soon.”
“Alternative breaks make you value what you have at Alma. It’s comforting knowing that you have made new friends, and alternative breaks bring awareness to all of the opportunities you really have on campus,” said Flanery.
If you would like more information on alternative breaks, you can find more information on the Alma College website, or on the Alma Alternative breaks instagram-@ac_altbreak.