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Alternative Spring Break a Big Success
Alternative Breaks (aB) is FIU’s largest co-curricular service-learning program. Celebrating over 15 years of service, the program sent 24 trips during the 2009-2010 academic year! The concept behind aB is quite simple, you select an issue to learn more or feel passionate about serving. We take your choices and research amazing direct service opportunities for you to learn and serve.
The 2009-2010 proved to be an exciting year. The Alternative Breaks program partnered this year with university staff members to join students on their service trips and guide them in their process of becoming active citizens.
This year six professional staff members and graduate assistants from the Division of Student Affairs participated in the spring break portion of Alternative Breaks.
Dr. Larry Lunsford (Associate Vice President & Ombudsman) – Costa Rica: His group worked in a national park located in the remote mountains of Costa Rica to help create and restore trails in the Rain forest.
“It was an amazing and most memorable experience. Each member of the FIU delegation left Costa Rica exhausted, but with a keen sense of accomplishment and deeper appreciation of the environment, which they hopefully will transfer to others through continued good deeds throughout their lives in their respective communities. I have worked with college students for 36 years, and I have never been more proud of a group of students after witnessing their hard work and sacrifices for a week.”
Alexis Fulks (GA - Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life) – Arkansas: Alexis explored the social issue of rural poverty. Heifer International offers a powerful global education experience at its Learning Center at Heifer Ranch where students learned about how poverty affects our daily lives.
Jamillah Stewart (GA - Campus Life) –Chicago: Her group worked with the International Rescue Committee as they explored refugee issues and advocacy for those uprooted or affected by violent conflict and oppression.
Sean Gerardino (GA - Center for Leadership & Service) – Honduras: A true veteran of FIU’s aB program, this was Sean’s first international trip. His group teamed up with Service for Peace International focused on building a new school and community center in a remote Honduras village.
Phillip Duventra (GA - Housing and Residential Life) - Guatemala: Philip served in the mountains of Guatemala in projects pertaining to Rural Poverty. His group assisted with building homes and providing resources to small towns hidden in the high parts of the mountain.
Margaret Di Gennaro (GA - Center for Leadership & Service) – Canada: This is the first time any group from the FIU aB program has crossed the border with our neighbors to the north! Margaret along with her team provided direct service to a women’s shelter.
Bronwen Bares (Assistant Director - Center for Leadership & Service) – Dominican Republic: This group worked with Orphanage Outreach Center.
Nashira Williams (GA - Center for Leadership & Service) - Mississippi: This BBC aB group worked with Habitat for Humanity to help build and beautify homes.
Cristy Calderon-Coto (Recruiter - University Graduate School) – Costa Rica: Her group worked in a national park located in the mountains of Costa Rica to help restore create and restore trails in the Rain forest.
Bianny Fernandez (Undergraduate Education) & Walter Maldonado (Undergraduate Education) – Dominican Republic: As one of aB’s longest running international site, both of these amazing advisors accompanied FIU students to learn more about children’s poverty issues.
At the completion of the academic year, AB received a total of 560 student interest applications, selected 48 site leaders, selected 250 participants, and completed a total of 13,984 service hours in 2009-2010. For the first time ever in AB history, the program participated in a live online blog with the Media Relations office and incorporated an educational component to meet the QEP’s Global Learning Outcomes. Looking forward to 2011, Alternative Breaks hopes to continue to engage faculty and staff and affirm our commitment to creating active citizens in our FIU and global community.