Alternative Spring Break Provides Learning Opportunities

Posted: March 9, 2000 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Jeremy Lasich

While many students are heading for the beaches over spring break, approximately 40 George Mason students are traveling next week to either New York City; Boston; Gardner, Colo.; or Washington, D.C. as participants in the Alternative Spring Break program.

Alternative Spring Break provides the opportunity for teams of students to engage in service with communities facing complex social issues such as discrimination, inadequate housing, hunger, and poverty. By providing needed services, team members learn from the people and organizations they encounter and gain a broader understanding of the world.

The 13 students traveling to New York will learn how different organizations in a large city respond to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. They will interact with people affected by the disease in order to develop an understanding of the parameters of the disease. Approximately 10 students are visiting Boston, where they will see the city through the eyes of its youth. They will learn about the issues facing the city’s young people through work in schools and after-school programs, and they will work directly with kids in tutoring and art-based programs.

Twelve students will head to Gardner, Colo., to learn about earth-based culture while assisting with projects of the Native American Community Church. Activities include animal husbandry, gardening, and preparations for the summer solstice ceremony. Six students will be staying in the local area to explore the pressing issues of the Washington Metropolitan area. They will work on various service projects, including serving food to the homeless, working with children, maintaining parks, and planning projects.

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