LEIA R. LEHRER
With winter break coming just around the corner, Alma College students are deciding what their plans are after this semester ends. Alternative Breaks have been offered to students for a chance to engage in local and travel opportunities for community service and outreach.
“It’s a great way to meet other students who are like-minded or care about the same topic you do,” said Carla Jensen, Director of Experiential Learning. “It’s a great way to connect with students you might not already know who share the same interests and passions.”
Coming up, there are three Traveling Alternative Beaks for the month of December. Applications for these breaks have already closed. Each of the travel breaks will be happening from Dec. 10 to 17. There is also one local opportunity to help with Food Insecurity in mid-December.
The Environmental Sustainability Alternative Break will be happening at Everglades and Biscayne national parks in FL.
Participants of this break will be working on trail maintenance, outdoor maintenance, and cleanup projects. Sophia Romain (‘23) and Ava Fredrickson (‘23) are the students organizing this break, and Tessa Williams is the staff organizer.
Christina Harbin (‘24) and Matthew Hanson (‘24) will be leading the Disaster Recovery Alternative Break with Brianna Harfmann as their staff organizer. This break will be working with Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) in support of hurricane recovery efforts in New Bern. Participants will be helping with various projects led by PDA.
Abby Wohlfert (‘23) and Dylan Kast (‘24) will be leading the Children’s Health Alternative Break with Brittany Luckett as their staff organizer. This break will be working with St. Judes’s Children’s Hospital and Serve901 in Memphis, Tennessee. It is in Partnership with Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE).
The Food Security break will be focused on sorting food donations at local pantries, as well as assisting with food delivery programs at First Presbyterian Church of Alma and other locations. There are two date options for this alternative break. It is taking place on Dec. 12 and 13, or Dec. 14 and 15. Students may sign up for one session or both.
“Some of the planned activities include going to the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan in Flint, volunteering at homeless shelters and distributing food at local distributions, including the First Presbyterian Church of Alma just off campus,” said Katherine Garlock, AmeriCorps VISTA Member for Food Security. This Alternative Break still has spots open for any students that are interested.
The Alternative Breaks Club has been working with the Center for College and Community Engagement to prepare students for engaging within their communities.“With Alternative Breaks being supported by the Center for College and Community Engagement, there is a renewed focus on ‘how do we bring what we’ve learned back to our community?’” said Jensen.
When students return from their Alternative Breaks, they now go through reorientation events that help establish how they can use this experience to positively affect Alma’s community and any community that they choose to work with.
While applications for winter Alternative Breaks have closed, aside from the Food Security break, Spring applications are opening on Monday, Dec. 5 at 7:30 A.M.
The applications opening are for Housing Security with Habitat for Humanity, Animal Welfare with Horse Creek Animal Sanctuary and Environmental with Joshua Tree National Park. Applications can be found on the Alma College website.