Discover Service Learning: Make A Difference in Local and Statewide Communities
What is Service-Learning?
Service-learning is a form of experiential education where learning occurs through a cycle of action and reflection. Service-learning places an emphasis on working closely with community partners to address community concerns. Students who engage in service-learning learn about the connection between their service, their academic coursework, and their roles as citizens.
What is Alternative Break?
An alternative break is an immersion service-learning trip where small groups of college students engage in community-based service and cultural immersion for a few days to make a difference in local and/or statewide communities. At WCC we offer both weekend and 5 to 7 day-long alternative break trips. Each trip focuses on a particular social issue, such as (but not limited to) poverty, education reform, food insecurity, criminal justice reform, or the environment. The trip emphasizes other aspects of life such as community, mindfulness, and wellness.
Before the trip, groups will learn history and facts about the chosen topic and discuss the trip logistics and service projects the group will focus on.
During the trip, groups will perform their service-learning activities. At the end of each day groups will reflect on their experiences while utilizing at least one of the eight learning components of alternative breaks: direct service, abstaining from alcohol and other drugs, diversity/social justice, orientation, education, training, reflection, and re-orientation.
At the end of the trip, groups will do an overall assessment of the experiences they had during the alternative break trip.
Who Leads The Groups?
Each trip is led by one to two student leaders who are selected through an application process. The student leaders are partnered with faculty/staff mentors to facilitate the overall trip theme, logistics, and individual and group reflection process.
To serve as a general group member for a weekend or 5 to 7 day trip, each student must complete an application detailing the reasons why they are interested in the select alternative break topic and answer a series of questions centered around any previous community service experience.
How Do I See What Trips Have Been Done Before?
Check out our Vikings Making a Difference in their local/statewide communities during previous alternative break service-learning trips on Instagram @mad_wcc
Here are some of the past topics and what members of the Alternative Break programs have said about their experiences:
- March 2018: Food Insecurity, New York City
- October 2018: The Environment, Wildlife, and Us, Westchester
- March 2019: Criminal Justice in America: Prison, Probation, and Parenting in lock-up, New York and Philadelphia
- March 2019: Immigration and Border-Issues, San Diego, CA
- March 2020: Understanding Neighborhood Regeneration and Empowering Communities, Chicago, IL
- March 2020: The Oceans and their Eco-Systems, Newport, RI
“The Alternative Spring Break was a truly transformative experience for me. It was from this program that I learned about how problematic our criminal justice system is, particularly for black and brown people. The value of learning about important issues through those directly affected by them is of immense value and something that I will carry with me going forward.” – John Henry, March 2019
“Being the Alternative Spring Break Leader was a very meaningful and rewarding experience for me. I was able to coordinate a trip with the intention of raising awareness about pollution and its effect on the ecosystems to a group of students within the campus community. We took a trip to Rhode Island and participated in beach and river cleanups visited a Nature Conservatory and created artwork based on the litter we found. Once strangers, in the beginning, we left as friends after bonding together with the mission of promoting a better environment.” – Pamela Morales, March 2020
How Do I Apply?
The Department of Student Involvement provides fall and spring alternative break experiences.
APPLICATIONS WILL BE MADE AVAILABLE TOWARDS THE END OF EACH SEMESTER FOR THE FOLLOWING SEMESTER
For additional information, or if you have any questions email email@example.com or call the Department of Student Involvement at 914-606-6731.