College of Charleston students are stepping outside their comfort zones for spring break 2015 to explore alternative breaksnew communities and social issues through Alternative Spring Break. Students will be serving in Miami, Fla; Immokalee, Fla; Nashville, Tenn.; Maryville, Tenn.; and Glenwood, Colo.

WATCH: See alternative break opportunities at the College of Charleston.

“These trips often serve as catalysts for bigger conversations about social justice, the reciprocity of service, and sustainable social change among our students,” explains Maggie Szeman, assistant director of the Center for Civic Engagement. “In addition to traveling during spring break, these students have been preparing for their trips since November and applying the education and skills they’ve gained by volunteering locally. Alternative breaks are so much more than five-day trips.”

Charleston-area educational and service partners have included organizations such as Barrier Islands Medical Clinic, the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry, Cycles Compost Charleston, My Sister’s House, and the Gullah/Geechee Nation.

EXPERIENCE: See upcoming alternative break opportunities.
  • Rooted n’ Included (Florida City & Immokalee, FL) – This public health focused trip will explore the issues of farmworker health in the Miami/Florida City/Immokalee communities. Their service will explore various aspects of farmworker health such as, maternal & child healthcare, education, access to health care, and working conditions.
  • No More Damsels in Distress (Miami, FL) – This group will explore issues related to female empowerment and factors contributing to the feminization of poverty, including education, violence, human trafficking, and other critical concerns.
  • Abilities, Disabilities, and the Arts in the Music City (Nashville, TN) – This year, Alternative Spring Break will focus on ways in which the arts can connect individuals with and without disabilities. This group will have the opportunity to work with organizations such as Rochelle Center, which offers support for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and Art Tank, an art studio which allows artists with and without disabilities to work collaboratively, and more.
  • Different Drum, Same Beat (Maryville, TN) – The Cherokee tribe used to be one of the largest Native American tribes in the eastern United States. However, due to political, environmental, developmental and societal pressures their numbers have dwindled. This group will work directly with the Snowbird Cherokee community and completing projects such as home repair, tutoring, and other tasks requested by the community and other while learning more about their culture.
  • Are You Fracking Me? (Glenwood, CO) – This environmental focused experience will explore the issue of hydraulic fracking and its effects in the Glenwood Springs, Colorado community. This group will spend most of our days learning about fracking and what can be done to slow or prevent the negative effects. Both sides of the fracking debate will be considered, as well as work with local communities who feel the effects of fracking.