JMU ABP Flickr

Spring Break can be a time for relaxation, maybe a warm beach or a comfy couch, and finally a break from school work. With the break just around the corner, most students probably already have their plans set and their bags packed. But have you thought about next year? Well here’s an idea, you could participate in an Alternative Spring Break trip!

Alternative Spring Break is a program through Community Service-Learning (also known as CSL), where a small group of JMU students travel to a location to work with local communities. These trips, both international and domestic, give students the opportunity to experience and learn about diverse communities around the world.

JMU ABP Flickr

These trips are open to all JMU students no matter year or major. Each trip is focused on specific issues including but not limited to: poverty, community wellness, youth empowerment, environment and health. Shawni Mas, a senior social work major, participated in the May trip to New Orleans after finishing her sophomore year. “I had an absolutely amazing experience… it was an awesome way to immerse myself in a culture very different from that of Harrisonburg while engaging in community service and making a difference.”

“The focus of the trip was to contribute to the Hurricane Katrina relief effort and help restore homes, which JMU had made a commitment to return to the area annually for ten years after the disaster had occurred.” She goes on to say “JMU is committed to preparing its students to be “educated and enlightened citizens,” and seeing the impact of literally building a house for someone to call their home after their family had endured so much from the Hurricane Katrina disaster, showed me how it felt to be an active citizen.”

Including their spring break trip, the Alternative Break Program also hosts trips during Thanksgiving, January, May and various weekends throughout the school year. Just a reminder, these trips fill up fast! Information sessions are usually five months in advance, so if you’re interested definitely look into the process early rather than later.

JMU ABP Flickr

To learn more about the Alternative Break Program, check out or stop by their office in the second floor of the Student Success Building.

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