Alternative Spring Break

The Alternative Spring Break (ASB) program goes beyond the week-long service trip. ASB is a semester-long, student-led program where teams engage in a social justice curriculum to prepare them to learn and serve in communities across the United States during the one-week trip over spring break.

During the spring semester, each group meets either on Tuesday or Thursday from 12:15 - 1:30 p.m. The weekly meetings are a critical component of ASB and will prepare students to create a rich and meaningful service experience. On the service trip, groups of students are accompanied by staff and faculty members and engage in a week of service related to social justice issues such as affordable housing and poverty relief, LGBTQ+ rights, immigration, and racial justice. After the service trip, students will meet two additional times to reflect on how they can address the same critical issues they explored during spring break here in the Greater Boston community.

Applications will open at the start of the fall semester.

Spring 2019 LGBTQ+ Advocacy ASB team in Washington, D.C

ASB 2021

March 14 - 20, 2021

Past sites have included:

  • Habitat for Humanity in the following cities: Denver, CO; South Bend, IN (CAS Honors trip); Clarkesville, GA; Battle Creek, MI; Gulfport, MS; and Meridian, MS
  • LGBTQ+: Washington, D.C.
  • Racial Justice: Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, MD

Requirements

  1. Students must participate in 7 pre-trip meetings and 2 post-trip meetings with their team. Meetings take place either on Tuesday or Thursday from 12:15 - 1:30 p.m.
    These meetings are a time to get to know the group, learn about social justice issues through the ASB curriculum, and receive important information regarding the trip and the communities students will be living and volunteering in over spring break
  2. Students must be in good conduct standing with the University

Cost

Students accepted into the ASB program are required to submit a $100 non-refundable contribution to help cover program expenses such as housing, meals, and transportation. Students are responsible for baggage fees and meals during travel time (at the airport or during a van ride).

Scholarships and Financial Aid

A limited number of need-based scholarships are available to cover the $100 student contribution, and are determined on a case-by-case basis; please contact Assistant Director Dennis Harkins for details.

Staff Advisors

Suffolk staff and faculty advisors travel with each student group to serve as advisors and offer support and guidance to the group. There is no cost to staff advisors. If you are interested in applying to become a staff advisor for an Alternative Spring Break trip, please contact Assistant Director Dennis Harkins.

Become an ASB Student Leader

ASB trips are led by student leaders who are committed to providing Suffolk students the opportunity to serve and learn in communities outside of Boston. ASB leaders are responsible for all aspects of the Alternative Spring Break trip, including recruiting and selecting participants, trip logistics, coordinating with the host site, delivering a social justice based curriculum to the group, and leading the actual trip. Serving as an ASB trip leader is a year-long commitment, and a meaningful community leadership experience. Leaders are selected during the spring of the year prior to the dates of the trip. Contact us for more information.

2019 Racial Justice ASB Team 

In 2018, Abby Shobajo (far right) proposed creating a racial justice ASB trip. The CCE immediately started working with her to develop the program for spring 2019. Over the next year, Abby built relationships with community partners, developed learning goals for the trip, and co-led Suffolk’s inaugural racial justice ASB trip to Washington, D.C. with Adriana Taplin (second from left).

As an Alternative Spring Break (ASB) leader, I was given the opportunity to meet new people and gain leadership skills. I was able to develop meaningful relationships and memories with other Suffolk students. My favorite part of ASB was seeing the impact we have made on a community other than our own. I recommend the position and/or ASB to anyone that is passionate about service, likes to travel to new places, and enjoys getting to know other people.

Emely Nuñez Class of 2021

ASB FAQs

Suffolk Alternative Break groups complete service work in a drug- and alcohol-free environment (even if you are of legal age), making it an alternative to many other break experiences.

Applications are submitted through Google Forms and reviewed by ASB student leaders. Following review of the written applications, ASB student leaders will contact applicants to schedule an interview. Prior to acceptance into the program, applicants will be subject to a review by the Dean of Students Office for final approval. Applicants should hear about the decisions by mid-November.

Our trips include a mix of flight and rental car travel to communities throughout the United States. Each group will have rental vehicles for the week to travel from their housing accommodations to the service site and any other activities throughout the week.

Accommodations vary from site to site, and we often do not receive housing details until the spring semester. In the past, groups have stayed in a variety of settings depending on the site - rustic cabins, church basements, community centers, hostels, etc. Mattresses are sometimes provided; other times participants need to bring a sleeping pad to comfortably sleep on a floor. Every effort is made to communicate the accommodations to the ASB groups as soon as we have them. If you have questions or concerns about housing, please contact Assistant Director Dennis Harkins.

Each ASB group is comprised of no more than 14 people: two student leaders, two staff/faculty/graduate fellow staff advisors, and no more than 10 student participants.

This spring, trips will take place from March 14-20, 2021.

Yes, attendance at the weekly meetings is mandatory. Students who miss two or more meetings will not be permitted to attend the ASB trip. The weekly meetings are a critical component of ASB and will prepare you to create a rich and meaningful service experience.

There are seven pre-trip meetings and two post-trip meetings. We do our best to schedule the trip meetings based on participant availability on Tuesdays or Thursdays.

One of the values of ASB is pushing participants and leaders outside of their comfort zones. ASB is an opportunity to understand a community different from your own and one you may not have ever imagined going to. Students return from ASB with a much greater understanding of the diversity of communities and social issues that exist in the United States.

While we do not allow students to choose which site they go to, we make every effort possible to match the type of trip you express interest in with your trip assignment, but we can’t guarantee that you will be given your first choice.

You will find out your trip assignment and meeting schedule when ASB positions are offered in mid-November.

Please do not hesitate to email the Center for Community Engagement, or call us at 617-305-6306 with any questions.