How is Alternative Breaks responding to the COVID-19 pandemic?
In the interest of ensuring the health and safety of all participants, Experience Leaders, and community partners during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have shifted our fall programming to be fully virtual in the form of a five-week dialogue series. While this is very different from what we’ve done in the past, we’re still modeling the program to be directed toward action, even though we can’t gather to do in-person direct service right now. All of our dialogues will follow a “What? So What? Now What?” progression that focuses our education and reflection on social issues toward the action we can take in our own communities.
What are some topics for the Alternative Breaks Dialogue Program?
There will be dialogues in the following issue areas: Environmental Conservation, Food Insecurity, Health and Wellness, Socioeconomic Inequity, Ability, and Education. Each dialogue group’s discussions will be tailored to a more specific topic within the issue area.
What is the time commitment like for this program?
To participate, you’ll have to commit one 1.5 hour Zoom session per week for 5 weeks from October 19th, 2020 to November 16th, 2020. Specific times are determined by each group’s Experience Leaders. Additionally, Experience Leaders will sometimes give materials for participants to engage with between sessions in order to prepare for the dialogue. These will consist of things like an article to read or a video to watch, and are meant to give more time to in-depth discussion during the session. The total time commitment between the sessions and these small readings shouldn’t be more than 2 to 2.5 hours per week for the duration of the program.
What if I’m nervous about discussing hard topics with strangers?
In Alternative Breaks, we spend significant time on activities that build trust and community in our groups, and that won’t change in the Dialogue Program. Dialogues about structural inequality and approaching social issues through action are always difficult and informed by the identities that we all bring to the table, but AB works hard to create spaces that are safe and brave, prioritizing mutual respect and accountability. It might be hard to talk to strangers about these topics at first, but who knows— you might make some new friends along the way!
Can I switch experiences/Are there any open spaces?
- If you would like to be switched to an experience to attend with someone you know, we assure you that the AB community is a welcoming one, you will meet so many new people and you and your friend will be able to share your different experiences with each other!
- If you would like to switch experiences due to the social issue, we ensure you that all experiences will provide equally rich experiences
- If you would like to switch experiences because you are no longer available during the time of the experiences, we strive to offer as many different students the opportunity to participate in AB. Therefore, when spots become available, we first offer the open spots to students who have not yet been placed on experiences.
- If you choose to drop the experience you have been selected for, it is not always likely that you will be able to participate in another AB experience this semester.
- If you choose to drop the experience you have been selected for, but want to explore another experience you will have to be placed on the alternates. There is no guarantee a spot will open on other experiences this year.
How are participants selected?
Participants are selected based on their application. Applications are reviewed based on the quality of responses and the commitment the applicant expresses towards the AB experience. No previous service experience or involvement level is required. Participants are placed in experiences depending on their preferences, availability, and our desire to create a well-rounded team from many different backgrounds, experience levels and perspectives.