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Apply to volunteer for Alternative Spring Break by October 30
October 1, 2015
By Meagan Boisse

Certain images come to mind with the mention of spring break, notably the southerly migration of student droves to beachside parties.

The Alternative Spring Break (ASB) program offers something a little different — a chance for students and recent grads, as well as staff and faculty, to foster civic responsibility through community service, whether in their own backyard or abroad.

Concordians have until October 30 to apply to be a participant or leader in the program, part of Student Services activities managed by the Dean of Students Office.

ASB offers four distinct experiences: participants can work at Share the Warmth and Santropol Roulant in Montreal, build houses with the St. Bernard Project in New Orleans, or spend their week at Camp Kinkora in the Laurentians.

For the first time a French trip will also be offered, which will have participants work at Les Petits Freres, a seniors’ support centre on the island. This new component is an opportunity to learn French in an intensive setting and explore Quebec culture.

“It’s something different to be honest. You’re spending a lot of time contributing to your community, you make great friends and meet a lot of like-minded people,” says Caite Clark, a second-year theatre and development student at Concordia who participated in ASB last year.

As a new student coming from outside the city, Clark says the program helped her get off campus and gain a sense of community. “ASB helped me learn a lot about Montreal. I got to know students and staff outside my faculty and residence, it opened up new doors for me within the Concordia community, and that was really cool.”

The experience was so positive Clark is applying for ASB again, this time as a student team leader.

Beyond service week, participants can meet their peers and grow new skills by attending a number of pre-departure workshops on issues surrounding community development, leadership and experiential learning.

During the break students live, cook and work together in groups no larger than 15. After the week, participants have the chance to unpack their experience through a number of reflective debriefing workshops before the program culminates in a night of celebration and sharing at the ASB Showcase.

“It’s an amazing opportunity for staff to get to know students on a deeper level,” says Ellie Hummel, chaplain and coordinator at Concordia’s Multi-Faith Chaplaincy, who’s participated as an ASB staff leader for the past five years. “When you spend that amount of time together you see each other at your most real, and we’ve had really profound experiences.”

“The primary goal is to get students into community settings,” says Alexander Oster, coordinator of student engagement with the Dean of Students Office. “They form teams, build skills and enter the community in a really interesting way. Long term, this is the first step into a lifestyle of civic engagement, as participants learn to see themselves as citizens and leaders.”

Those interested can apply as a participant, student team leader or faculty/staff leader. Student team leaders have a portion of costs subsidized by the program, and faculty/staff leaders are not charged any fees.

The cost for the ASB program ranges from $150 to $1,400 depending on the trip. This covers lodging, meals and transport. The Dean of Students Office offers support to students who wish to fundraise to help offset the cost of the program.


The deadline to apply for ASB is October 30, 2015, at 5 p.m. You can submit your application online through your MyConcordia portal. Learn how to apply.

Find out more about Alternative Spring Break.

Contribute to the Alternative Spring Break Fall Food Drive.


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