College Students Using Their Spring Breaks for the Greater Good

Today’s guest post comes from Tim Handorf.

An emerging trend in volunteerism is occurring on college campuses across the nation. Instead of soaking up the sun and booze on a beach somewhere in Florida or Mexico, many college students are opting for the alternative spring break. Alternative spring breaks go by a variety of different names, but their primary purpose is to whisk students away to different locales for weeklong volunteer service trips. From helping out with relief efforts in the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast region to building homes with Habitat for Humanity to trail building and erosion control in state and national parks, volunteer opportunities abound, creating ample break choices for students year after year at many universities.

 A well-known nonprofit organization involved in the promotion of alternative break programs is Break Away, an organization with a vision to create “a society of active citizens: people who value the community as a priority when making life decisions.” They do this by providing training and information to institutions of higher education about service learning opportunities and helping them connect students to alternative break options. If you are a college student, you can check to see if your school is a chapter organization here.

Another place college students can turn to find alternative spring break opportunities is i-to-i, a volunteer travel company that offers spring break community service programs. Some of their recent excursions have included building homes in Honduras and Costa Rica and conservation work in Ecuador. Students have the opportunity to experience and enjoy another country, but lend a helping hand while they’re doing so.

While well-known nonprofit organizations Habitat for Humanity and United Way have organized alternative spring break programs, many colleges have volunteer departments student-run and otherwise that identify service learning opportunities and organize their own alternative spring breaks. College students should do a little digging to find out what alternative spring break options their college may offer.

Alternative Spring Breaks capitalize on the fact that active volunteerism is often at its strongest for those in their college years particularly traditional students who have not yet started families or entered permanent careers and have more free time. The proof of college students’ willingness to volunteer is everywhere. For one, fraternities and sororities each have charitable causes for which they fundraise and raise awareness. Also, many institutions of higher education foster service learning, volunteerism and community service by building it in to the college’s mission, integrating it into the curriculum and encouraging the founding of student-run volunteer centers that identify local community needs and recruit students to get on board to help meet those needs.


This guest post is contributed by Tim Handorf, who writes on the topics of online colleges. He welcomes your comments at his email Id:


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