ASB provides undergraduate university students with an intensive, short-term experiential learning opportunity where they participate in meaningful, community-identified projects with a domestic or international partner organization. The projects give participants real-life experience working with and learning from people in the community. This experience helps to raise awareness about social issues; promote an appreciation of equity, diversity, and inclusion; highlight the importance of reciprocal relationships; and prepare students to act as catalysts for future change.
Most participants find that they learn a lot about themselves and how they interact with people. Some people feel that the experience has changed the way they think about community, while others say the experience has changed their lives profoundly.
The projects are developed by partner organizations, in collaboration with the Student Experience Office.
In 2018/2019, experiences range in price from $250 for our domestic ASB option, to between $2200 and $2450 for international experiences.
The Alternative Spring Break Program provides several opportunities for students to offset their program costs. Based on statistics from last year’s program, participants received approximately $673 in funding support (from the CUSA Student Initiative Fund, faculty contributions, and fundraisers organized by the Student Experience Office). Please note this figure is an average, as some students received slightly more or less than this amount. There are also several opportunities for individual fundraising to allow for a greater amount of the program costs to be subsidized. For more information please contact the Student Development and Community Outreach Coordinator, Niamh O’Shea.
Each project is collaboratively led by a number of Team Leaders and Team Advisors – all of whom are Carleton University students and staff.
Student participants are selected by the end of October and there is approximately one ASB commitment every three weeks. Students attend three pre-departure orientation sessions, which give students the opportunity to participate in activities that will allow them to develop as a team, participate in reflection activities, and learn more about their host community and the nature of their project. Students also participate in Campus to Community Days, team socials and fundraising projects. ASB trips typically run for 7 days during the reading week in February. Afterwards, participants attend one final wrap-up session.
Yes. Attendance at all ASB events is mandatory.
A full commitment is necessary for participation in Alternative Spring Break. As there is often a waiting list to participate, students who do not fully participate will be in jeopardy of losing their position.
ASB is in intensive, immersive experience. You will be working on a community-identified project with a partner organization during the day and participating in reflection activities with your group during the evenings. There will be time to relax and bond with the group, but don’t expect to get studying done during this time! Also, there will not be the opportunity to explore the destination on your own (even if you have experience traveling) – remember this is a group experience! However, we do plan excursions and cultural activities for the group to explore the community together.
I am a Carleton University student and I’m interested in participating. Where can I get more information?
Please visit our application page. Alternatively, stop by the Student Experience Office at 430 Tory Building and speak with the Student Development and Community Outreach Coordinator.
Participants apply online to the Alternative Spring Break program. The applications are reviewed, and selected applicants are contacted for a group interview.
Teams are created based on a variety of factors, including the location/ project preference as indicated on the participants’ applications, the size of the project, and having a balance of students who represent differing programs, years of study, and previous experience. Traditionally each team is comprised of 10-16 student participants.
Unfortunately, only current undergraduate students can apply to be participants. However, graduate students are encouraged to apply for the Team Advisor role.
You are welcome to submit an application to be a participant; however preference is given to students who have not participated in ASB in the past. As a past participant, you may be interested in the Team Leader role.
At this time, you cannot get course credit for participating in Alternative Spring Break. In the past, some participants have done course assignments on topics drawn from their experiences with ASB. However, you can add this experience to your Co-Curricular Record and it’s also a great experience to list on a resume.
I’m a Carleton University faculty or staff member and interested in getting involved in Alternative Spring Break. Where can I get more information?
Please visit our application page to see how you can get involved. You can also contact the Student Development and Community Outreach Coordinator to discuss how you could be involved with ASB.