A break beyond: Opportunities to work and travel


Paige Walkins

WSU students taking a group photo while visiting New York City for their alternative spring break.

Spring break is a week many students look forward to. It’s a time to relax or go on vacation. But at Weber State University, students are given the opportunity to help out in communities with the Alternative Spring Break Program.

The ASB program is provided by the Center for Community Engaged Learning. This year students were able to go to one of three trips offered: Brooklyn, New York; Atlanta, Georgia; or San Diego, California.

“In Atlanta, we helped out at an after-school program helping out young women in STEM and also helped at a big nonprofit organization that had a lot of medical equipment for people with disabilities,” Ulises Lopez, the trip leader for Atlanta, said.

Lopez said that during the trip, they learned about the nonprofit organizations that are in Atlanta, other ways to help people in need and all about the Civil Rights Movement.

“I was also able to learn a lot about myself and the things that are healthy for me,” Lopez said.

It was Lopez’s first time leading an ASB Trip, though they did attend last year as a student. Lopez said they would love to lead another sometime again.

One of the New York City trip leaders, Paige Walkins, and fellow trip leader, Nina Villanueva, learned a lot with their fellow students on their trip to New York City to help the homeless and learn about how poverty affects individuals in the area.

“Through my experience as a trip leader for the Alternative Spring Break Program, I had the opportunity to learn and develop a range of valuable skills, including cultural awareness and leadership skills, which were cultivated by immersing myself in a different community and culture, guiding and managing a group of students, and making decisions that positively impacted the communities we served,” Walkins said.

Walkins said that through the trip, she held reflections within the group in New York and Utah to discuss how they can better help the community and learn what positive impact they can make through volunteering and giving back.

Through many of the spring break trips, each trip leader has mentioned how they both learned and grew through their experiences.

Volunteering can give somebody a sense of purpose and learn how to use their talents to grow and benefit not only themselves but everyone in their community.

Walkings said that the ASB program is a way to learn not only about yourself but about the community around you.