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A transformative spring break

MSU Denver’s Alternative Break Program takes students from the classroom to the community.

By Karla Muniz

February 19, 2019

Students standing in a group in front of a mountain rangeThe week of March 25, Metropolitan State University of Denver classrooms might be empty, but for students participating in the Alternative Break Program, that doesn’t mean the learning stops. These life-changing opportunities support community growth and personal development while helping students develop real-life skills and teaching them the importance of giving back to the community.

This year, more than 20 scholars will spend spring break, and part of summer break, doing service work through the Alternative Break Program, a program of the Roadways’ Scholarship Support and Retention office. ABP trips are great educational opportunities, allowing students to gain a deeper insight into social issues and challenging them to learn about various cultures (some closer to home than they might have realized) through the act of service. Through months of preparation, the program aims to transform students into advocates of social change on issues affecting their communities or the surrounding regions.

Over spring break this March, students will learn about environmental impacts to Grand Canyon National Park, volunteer at the Fort Collins Rescue Mission and see community development in action through the Cheyenne River Youth Project. These experiences have a profound impact. They give students a unique chance to develop their MSU Denver scholar community and a sense of belonging on campus, and more than 94 percent of participants have retained from fall to fall semester or have graduated successfully. As trips are designed to help students become active citizens in their own communities, they have the added bonus of bringing a bigger or sharper context to students’ future career goals.

Faculty and staff can support the ABP by spreading the word, encouraging students to engage in critical social dialogue and finding opportunities to work with community partners, creating a strong and bigger ABP network. To support the programs financially, please visit Elevate.

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