This spring the Public Service Center sponsored nine Alternative Break trips that immersed students in a social justice issue. Trips ranged from learning about Native American rights at the Campo Kumeyaay Nation to exploring border and immigration issues in San Diego. Students met with a wide range of community leaders to learn about history, impact, and advocacy, and volunteered their time in service to local organizations working to bring about positive change. Peggy Hsieh, just back from the Urban Health trip in Los Angeles, shared her thoughts: “For me, the trip made public health issues personal. Before I read about these issues in a textbook, but now, I know people affected by them. Now that I have this knowledge, I have a responsibility to tell others.”
Alternative Breaks offers service-learning trips for students to explore a social justice issue through hands-on service, supplemented with education and reflection. Trips run during winter and spring breaks and explore issues like immigration, environmental justice, public health, or poverty. Participants take a DeCal class before their trip to learn about the issue and the community partners they will be working with and to get to know each other.