Dukes deployed to 13 states, three international locations to serve

Nation and World

by Caitlyn Read


Last week almost 300 JMU students participated in Community Service Learning’s Alternative Break Program, spending their spring break serving others. Dukes dispatched on 23 trips across 13 states and three international locales to volunteer in a variety of capacities, from preparing supplies for homeless veterans in Boston to contributing to reforestation efforts in Guatemala.

Every year JMU offers service trips to locations in the United States and abroad. Each service team typically consists of 12 student participants, two student co-leaders and a faculty or staff learning partner. The JMU Alternative Break Program trains and immerses students in a purposeful service experience designed to connect students and community members while enhancing personal growth and lifelong learning.

Nico Climaco, a senior at JMU, reflects on what he calls a “transformative” alternative break trip he took to New Orleans. “The level of exposure to different realities is important for students to experience,” said Climaco. “It is incredibly impactful when you see what you’re learning about in the classroom play out in the real world.”

Most trips take place during Spring Break, but other trips are offered during all of the JMU academic breaks, including Thanksgiving, January and May breaks. Additionally, weekend trips are offered and are a great way to get involved and learn more about the program.

Megan Faulkner, a junior, says she “fell in love” with the Alternative Break Program through these weekend trips. She has since embarked on multiple trips, working on a variety of projects ranging from art and dance centered to STEM curriculum focused. “These trips gave me a new vision of service,” she said. “I realize now the importance of learning and reflecting throughout the service process. I see the value in looking back on what you’ve accomplished and challenging yourself to take it to the next level.”

For those interested in participating in an alternative break trip, or supporting the program financially, please visit jmu.edu/abp or stop by the Community Service Leaning office on the second floor of the Student Success Center. For photos of past trips, you can view the Flickr Album here


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Published: Friday, March 20, 2015

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 1, 2023

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