A-to-Z Index

Service Is part of the curriculum

Click to see full map.

This map offers a glimpse of the places JMU students have served since 1996. To view details about a particular trip, click on the marker corresponding to the site. The yellow markers indicate Alternative Spring Break 2012 destinations.

Service is Key to the Madison Experience

Service is an important component of James Madison University's mission as a community committed to preparing students to be educated and enlightened citizens who lead productive and meaningful lives.

Since its founding in 1986, Community Service-Learning at JMU has established and nurtured partnerships joining JMU students, faculty, staff and communities. Each partnership is grounded in a philosophy of mutual contributions meeting the mutual needs of all involved – critical assistance for human service, environmental and education agencies and opportunities for personal growth, awareness and lifelong learning.

That foundation is clearly apparent in CS-L's popular Alternative Break Program, which connects JMU teams with communities throughout the country by making service-learning opportunities available during the Thanksgiving, spring and May breaks.

Check www.jmu.edu/apb/index.html for more information about the alternative break program.

JMU Students Show Spirit at The Big Event

Early Saturday morning on James Madison University's Quad students gathered to register for The Big Event, a student-organized day of service intended to show appreciation and make a positive impact on the community. Wearing bright yellow T-shirts, committee members handed out volunteer assignments, box lunches and encouraging words for the 850 students heading out to serve the community.

"We're so lucky to be here and it's just an amazing way to get everybody rallied together," said freshman Emily Thyroff. "It's getting out there and showing how much we appreciate being in Harrisonburg."

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Dance Moves

When Kate Trammell says, "Dance is for everybody," she means everybody. Age, physical abilities, mental capabilities and any factors that make people different are not allowed to strip away the innate means of human expression in the dance professor's book.

For the past 10 years Trammell has shared her passion for the power of dance and creative movement with the community and JMU students, some majoring in dance, but others in disciplines such as occupational therapy, kinesiology, psychology and education. Through participation in Dance 325: Dance in Community about 15 students each spring semester learn to use dance as a two-way portal to help people express themselves and to deepen their own educations by learning from people different from themselves.

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You Live and You Learn

For a select group of James Madison University freshmen, the road to a career in the health professions begins in Shenandoah Hall, where residents become research partners, competition gives way to collaboration and the community serves as a classroom.

Each year, the Huber Residential Learning Community, which honors the late Dr. Vida Huber, who established JMU’s Institute for Innovation in Health and Human Services, brings together 20 first-year pre-professional health students from various majors in a living-learning environment that promotes professionalism, community awareness, personal reflection, communication and teamwork.

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A head for business, a heart for the world

Students involved in James Madison University’s Student in Free Enterprise are using their business degrees to impact the community around them. With help from Lowe’s, 14 active members have been working to revamp Harrisonburg’s Mercy House. Applying theories learned in their entrepreneurial and management classes, the students are learning that stepping outside of the classroom can change the way they look at the world.

In February 2012, the JMU SIFE team applied for a $2,000 grant from Lowe’s to implement their community project. After being awarded the grant, SIFE worked with the local Lowe’s store to gather the materials they needed to begin work at the Mercy House.

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Garden Provides Opportunity to Cultivate Sustainable Business Practices

A Harrisonburg restaurant owner envisions long-term benefits from an herb and vegetable garden being designed and maintained by two integrated science and technology students.

"I think it's just an absolute win-win situation," said Katrina Didot, owner of A Bowl of Good.

Sam Frere and Dan Warren, both juniors, also see long-term benefits for their project, not just for the restaurant, but for others in the area who want to learn about sustainable gardening and business practices.

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April 14, 2010

Life-Changing Service

Anna DreyfussI've participated in two previous Alternative Spring Break trips – one as a participant my freshman year (the Gesundheit! Institute in Hillsboro, W.Va. in spring 2007) and one as a trip leader my junior year (Cayo Costa State Park, Fla., in spring 2009.) The first trip was a great introduction to alternative health care and communal living. I learned a lot about Patch Adams and his concept of "humanitarian clowning." After the trip, my group formed a JMU Health Care Clowning Club on campus. It was very rewarding to be a leader in the more independent volunteering experience in Florida. Our group had to be self-motivated in finding ways we could help around the island and balancing work with play on a beautiful beach in the Florida Keys.

— Anne Dreyfuss ('10)


Jen LloydI've worked with youth and taught English-as-a-Second-Language classes at Orphanage Outreach in Monte Cristi, Dominican Republic (spring 2008) and participated in a spring 2009 trip to Casa Familiar in San Diego to focus on immigration issues. My ABP involvement led me to teach ESL classes for students and teachers at Villa el Salvador outside Lima, Peru. I love service learning and am currently on the executive board for ABP. It is a fundamental component of my life that I intend to continue after graduate school.

— Jen Lloyd ('09)


Allison GouldI worked with the Redwoods National Park Rangers in spring 2008 getting a children's camp ready for the summer season. We did everything from clearing new hiking trails with machetes to building bridges and planting ferns. The trip was definitely geared toward environmental restoration and preservation, but it was rewarding knowing that our service and hard work would be enjoyed by the summer campers. The trip really opened my eyes up to the how incredible nature is and the importance of appreciating our forests. I have been to several national parks with my family through the years, but I never realized how hard it was to maintain the trails and build new ones. I have a newfound appreciation for nature and for park rangers. I also have become quite a hiking aficionado! Thank you Redwoods for opening me up to the beauty of nature and the joy of days spent in the forest.

— Allison Gould ('10)

Jessica HerrI've been on three trips so far. My experience with the Committee for the Upliftment of the Mentally Ill in Montego Bay, Jamaica, in spring 2008 taught me about another culture and how important it is to respect their beliefs. Coming from a much more fortunate country, it's so easy to see how much we take for granted. I co-led my first trip during the spring 2009 semester volunteering with Catalina Environmental Leadership Program at Catalina Island Camps. While volunteering with them, we learned about sustainability and provided the needed environmental services around camp. This experience taught me more about how important the environment is and easy things that can be done to help protect our environment. I came home learning about composting, which is something I never understood. In May 2009, I was a small-group leader for the trip to New Orleans volunteering with Habitat for Humanity and other organizations in Hurricane Katrina relief work. In high school, I had done Katrina relief work so it was a great experience to go back again and see how much help they have had since April of 2006. However, it is still extremely devastating to see how much help they still need.

— Jessica Herr ('10)

My Alternative Break experiences (Operation Breakthrough in Kansas City, Mo., in spring 2008, Casa Familiar in San Diego in spring 2009 and Habitat for Humanity in New Orleans in May 2009) have been life changing and they mean the world to me. I would never trade those experiences with my fellow students and the people we helped out for anything. For me, helping others is a sure-fire way to enjoy your time on this earth. The need for helping others will never go away and it never gets old. Touching people's lives is one of the greatest gifts there is. JMU does a phenomenal job offering its students a variety of ways to help out not only in the Harrisonburg community but globally. I am positive I will look back on my JMU days and remember the impact the ABP experience had on me!

— Allie Gibbs ('10)