Service Learning and Community Action

Past Alternative Spring Break Programs


Read the SLCA's coverage of the 2014 ASB Program on News@Emerson.

Boston, Massachusetts

The 2014 Boston ASB Program, led by Erin Goodyear '14, participated in a variety of projects to explore the affects of homelessness on children and youth in the Boston community. The group started the week working with Hope for Creativity to assemble art supply packs for children ages 2-18 experiencing homelessness. Participants then spent a day sorting and inspecting donations of essential childrens' items and preparing them for children ages 0-12 at Cradles to Crayons. Participants also sorted book donations at More than Words for their nonprofit youth cafe and bookstore. The group also volunteered with Birthday Wishes, and finished the week serving with Horizons for Homeless Children.

Detroit, Michigan

In Detroit, Emersonians served with Motor City Blight Busters, a community revitalization group, and on The Salvation Army’s Bed and Bread trucks. “We learned [about] the importance of education and food access,” said group leader Isabella Gordillo ’15, a Political Communication major. “There were some issues we dealt with that are very specific to Detroit, like arson and blight, but it comes back to the need for a strong educational system and access to healthy foods. [I] never would have learned these things if I didn’t participate in this program.”

Eagle Butte, South Dakota

The 2014 Eagle Butte ASB Program was led by Dylan Manderlink '14, a Performing Arts major. The group partnered with the Cheyenne River Youth Project on the Lakota Sioux American Indian Reservation to support the production of the "Passion for Fashion" event for the tribe's teenage girls. Emersonians worked alongside community members and other spring break volunteers for long days all week to pull off this annual celebration whose mission is to help girls to discover their own personal style while working on their self-esteem and individual goals. This year's Passion for Fashion theme was Phenomenal Women.

Joshua Tree National Park, California

At Joshua Tree National Park, participants served with the National Park Service's Volunteers In Parks program to engage in ecological conservation efforts that included restoring damaged vegetation and measuring and tracking native plant species to determine long-term impacts of climate change in the desert. The 2014 Joshua Tree ASB Program was led by Jamie Bogert '14, a Journalism major, and attracted the interest of students in the Environmental Studies minor as well as students simply interested in conserving and restoring our natural environment.


Biloxi, Mississippi

Students Volunteer

Students serve in Biloxi, Mississippi.

The 2013 Biloxi ASB Program served through Community Collaborations International, which connects volunteers with soup kitchens and homeless shelters, in rural Mississippi. The challenges associated with rural hunger and homelessness differs significantly from those experienced in urban areas, including access, transportation, and resources, specifically human resources in the form of volunteers. The Biloxi program helped participants better understand issues of urban and rural homelessness, while improving their ability to engage in discussion of how to address the issue of homelessness and its impact on various types of communities.

Boston, Massachusetts

The 2013 Boston ASB Program focused on childhood education. Engaging with organizations throughout Greater Boston that serve children and focus on eduation, Emersonians helped Boston students with homework, arts and crafts, and reading books.

El Paso, Texas

Students repair a bench during the ASB program in El Paso, TX in 2013

Located in southwest Texas, El Paso is the nation’s largest border city. The 2013 El Paso ASB Program provided students the opportunity to spend a week immersed the border community of El Paso, TX/Juárez, Mexico focusing on issues facing immigrant communities there. Participants engaged with multiple organizations focused on providing needed services, such as food, shelter, and support services, to immigrants and their families.

Students rebuild trails in Nantahala National Park.

Nantahala National Park, North Carolina

Nantahala is Cherokee for “Land of the Noonday Sun” and the name of the largest of the four national forests in North Carolina. The 2013 Nantahala National Park ASB Program offered students an opportunity to explore the importance and process of preserving America’s National Parks. Participants served in in one of the Southern most sections of the Appalachian Trail where they cleared trails, cut back growth, removed fallen trees, performed maintenance leveling, and cleared out areas of erosion – all guided by the help and expertise of members from the Nantahala Appalachian Trail Club.



Alternative Spring Break at Cambridge Public School

Nicole Tantum '14, Melinda Robins (Associate Professor, Journalism), and Larissa Sapko '12 paint signs at City Sprouts for use in the Cambridge Public School curriculum.

The 2012 Boston ASB Program, led by Stephanie Miceli, participated in a variety of projects to explore the concepts of food access and justice in the Boston community. The group worked with the Waltham Community Farm, clearing brush and invasive species from their fields, which supply produce to soup kitchens, pantries, and shelters in the area. Participants also worked at Haley House, preparing a meal for people experiencing homelessness, and Campus Kitchens Project, preparing meals from food donated by the University of Massachusetts Boston. The group finished the week serving with CitySprouts and World PEAS Coop. Participants assisted in sorting seeds and painting signs for the students in Cambridge City Schools who will use the supplies to plant gardens. While at the World PEAS Corps, the students had the opportunity to interview emergency food providers in Lowell to learn about their jobs and how they can improve the services provided by the organization.

New Mexico

Alternative Spring Break at Taos Charter School

Matt Durham '12, Paige Trubatch '12, and Sean Werkheiser '12 dig a trench for the installation of an irrigation system at Taos Charter School. 

The 2012 New Mexico ASB Program, led by Isabel Thottam and Gabrielle Tassone, began the week at a local food pantry and farming cooperative, helping students at the Santa Fe native school break ground on their outdoor classroom project. They spent the rest of the week at Tierra Lucero, a start-up farm located in Taos. Their service included composting, weeding, preparing field beds for planting, and building a framework for a greenhouse. They also helped install an irrigation system for the Taos Charter School.

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