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What is a Learning Partner?

Alternative Breaks are led by two student co-leaders. These students are responsible for the break logistics, communication with the partner service agency, team development, and facilitating group reflection sessions. Each break also has a faculty/staff Learning Partner. The Learning Partner participates as team member and is not responsible for the leadership or logistics of the break.

Learning Partners add to the Alternative Break team by:

  • Adding educational value to the break by contributing their life and professional perspective.
  • Being a mature influence to encourage students to make wise decisions
  • Acting as a resource for community partner volunteer leaders by providing advice and/or support
  • Building relationships with student break leaders and participants while in a non-traditional role
  • Encouraging long-term relationships between the AB program and other JMU offices
  • Serving as the legal representative of JMU for the break in case of accident or emergency

It is important that Learning Partners participate in all team activities. This includes participation in all activities during the break and several group meetings before and after the break.

How do I get more information about being a Learning Partner?

Contact 540-568-6366 or e-mail abp@jmu.edu. You can also stop by the Community Service-Learning Office on the second floor of the Student Success Center. Several informational meetings will be held for those interested learning more about becoming a Learning Partner.  Annually, we also host 2-4 information meetings right before and at the beginning of the fall semester.  Please keep an eye out for a bulk email and our events for details.

How do I become a Learning Partner?

Alternative Break student leaders invite a Learning Partner to join their service team. All faculty and staff interested in becoming a Learning Partner should click here to submit the online Learning Partner Profile. This information will be placed in a resource directory from which students would then contact you. Potential partners may specify for which break dates they would like to be contacted. Unfortunately, we can make no guarantees that all potential partners will be selected to attend a break.

Thanks so much for your interest and partenrship is our program!

I've been a learning partner before, should I resubmit my profile?

Unless you have had significant life changes that you would like students to know about, there is no need to update your profile year after year. Please email abp@jmu.edu to request a link to update your current profile if you do indeed have significant changes.  

I've submitted my profile; what happens now?

All interested LPs who indicated they are available for contact for Alternative Spring Breaks are invited to participate in a special learning partner social event with the break leaders (typically mid-September). At this social, break leaders and potential learning partners will have a chance to briefly meet one another and set up follow-up interviews.  Since all of our other breaks have less LPs needed at once, student leaders will review your profile and email/call you to set up individaual meetings.

Learning Partner Social for ASB (Mid-September):

Learning Partners may initially be contacted by several break leaders for follow-up interviews. The goal of initial conversations should be to get to know each other and to find out break information (destination, issue focus, lodging conditions, etc). Break leaders should be specific when they are asking a Learning Partner to actually commit to a break. Once a Learning Partner commits to a specific break, they will be removed from the list of potential LPs and other groups will not contact them. Please note, the decision to commit to a break should be mutual.

Timelines

Alternative Thanksgiving/January Break Learning Partners

  • Summer - August: All Thanksgiving and January break destinations finalized, break leaders contact, interview and confirm selection of Learning Partners
  • Mid-September: Thanksgiving and January Break leaders must submit their final Learning Partner choice
  • October: Learning Partner training/review session (according to selected Learning Partner schedules)

Alternative Spring Break Learning Partners

  • Summer - September: All spring break destinations finalized
  • Early September: Deadline to submit learning partner portfolio
  • Mid-September: Learning Partner Social
  • Late September - Early October: Student Leaders contact, interview and confirm selection of Learning Partners
  • Late October: Spring Break Break leaders must submit their final Learning Partner choice
  • January-February: Learning Partner training/review session (according to selected Learning Partner schedules)

Alternative May Break Leaders

  • Late September: May break destinations finalized, break leaders contact, interview and confirm selection of Learning Partners
  • December: May Break leaders must submit their final Learning Partner choice
  • January-May: 3-4 Trainings with all student leaders and site leaders.

Alternative Break Roles and Expectations

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