UConn’s alternative spring break application deadlines are approaching. By Wednesday, Oct. 24 at noon, students must submit application materials through the Community Outreach website. The spring weekend applications will remain open until Feb. 13 at noon.
According to the Community Outreach website, alternative break trips provide the opportunity for students to give back while becoming more acquainted with pressing social issues such as poverty, homelessness, conservation and healthcare.
Julia Machaj, a third semester engineering student, traveled to Medford, Oregon, in the summer of 2018 to help build homes for the homeless. Machaj said these trips allow for students to give back to the communities they visit.
“Alternative break trips give students a great opportunity to not only travel, but make a positive impact on the area they are there to help,” Machaj said. “Whether through building houses or just talking to locals, you walk away with a new experience that can help you find out more about yourself.”
In addition, Machaj stated that she valued the time she spent with the other student volunteers while on the trip.
“Just being with everyone at the building sights was a great bonding experience. I also enjoyed the energy and enthusiasm that was brought to the project,” Machaj said.
Julia Favazzo, a fifth semester physiology and neurobiology major, participated in last spring’s mystery trip to Detroit, Michigan. Favazzo said she was able to engage in an emotional encounter while volunteering at a local school.
“It was difficult to see the challenges that the kids and adults have to overcome on a daily basis,” Favazzo said. “Kids who I met [at a local school] were telling me how their home lives are difficult and focusing on school is so hard when the example led by high school students is to drop out and associate with gangs.”
Community Outreach reports that the cost of an average weekend trip costs anywhere from $60 to $100, while the week-long trips typically cost $300 to $500.
Graduate Assistant for alternative breaks Brianna Gavigan said there are many options to help students cover cost of attending these trips.
“The Alternative Break program is grateful for campus partners such as [Undergraduate Student Government] and Dining Services who help to support our efforts and make trips more accessible across the student body,” said Gavigan.
Fundraising from both partners aid in supplementing the cost of the trips for students, Gavigan said.
Students are also able to apply for individual aid through the Community Outreach website.
Each trip has a specific social issue which attendees will address over the course of each week or weekend. Below are all the trips made available to students interested in participating.
Spring Break Trips
1. Rural Poverty – Appalachia – Cosby, Tennessee
Trip Directors Nia Wray; Matt Boyer
2. Urban Dev., Education, & Civic Engagement – Detroit, Missouri
Trip Directors Xavier Arriaga; Alexis Cortes
3. Migrant Farmworkers & Ag Communities – Immokalee, Florida
Trip Director Jon Hastings
4. Cultural Preservation & Rural Poverty with the Cherokee Nation – Oklahoma
Trip Director Patrick Briody
5. MYSTERY TRIP – National Parks
Trip Director Michael Costello
6. Healthcare – Awareness, Access, & Advocacy – Philadelphia
Trip Director Nicole Dutka; Michael Sullivan
7. Homelessness, Urban Poverty & Political Action – Washington, DC
Trip Director Rohit Sinha
Spring Weekend Trips
1. Understanding Homelessness – Boston, Massachusetts
2. Food Insecurity in Urban Environments – New Haven, Connecticut – Anita Luxkaranaygam
3. HIV/AIDS Awareness & Advocacy – New York City
Allison O’Donnell is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at allison.o’firstname.lastname@example.org.