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Spring break: UD students embark on service-learning trips

Photos by Nikki Laws

500-plus will participate in 25 programs developed with community partners

On Saturday morning, March 24, more than 500 University of Delaware students will depart before the sun rises for a week of service learning with communities in 16 U.S. states, an experience the University of Delaware Alternative Breaks Program (UDaB) has been preparing them for all year.

UDaB has worked with its community partners to design 25 spring service-learning programs that allow students to better understand social justice issues, including autism acceptance, domestic violence, environmental stewardship, food insecurity, homelessness, immigration acculturation and more.

While students will immerse themselves in a week of service alongside local community members, the experience won’t end there, said UDaB program coordinator and senior Honors Mechanical Engineering major Brendan Hickey.

“We hope that our participants will carry their experiences with them through their career at UD and beyond,” Hickey said, “and that they will use the knowledge, skills and passion they have gained to contribute longterm and in a meaningful way to their local communities.”

In addition to offering programs during Winter Session and spring break, UDaB organizes days of service in the Delaware area throughout the year.

An Official Send-off

On Monday, March 19, participants filled the Trabant Multipurpose rooms for an official send-off event, complete with well wishes from Valerie Biden Owens, who serves as vice chair of the Biden Institute. UDaB and the Biden Institute share a common goal of engaging students and seeking social justice. Students met with their programs, enjoyed refreshments and heard inspiring words of wisdom from UDaB leadership and past participants.

“I decided to do UDaB because I wanted to expose myself to as many opportunities as UD offers. I’m most excited to help,” said Christine McIntosh, a first-year English major. “I’ve been very fortunate in my life with the opportunities and means I’ve had and I believe it is necessary to help others in need in order to gain perspective in my own life. The program is a wonderful chance for me to become an active citizen and to give back to a community in need.”

Learn more about the student-run and student-led UD Alternative Breaks Program by visiting the program’s  website and following along on their week of service @UDGlobal on Instagram and Twitter.

About the Institute for Global Studies

The Institute for Global Studies was created in 2009 to enhance the international dimensions of teaching, research and outreach at the University of Delaware. IGS provides leadership and support for programs and experiences that contribute to the education of informed, skilled, open-minded citizens of the world.

Best known for coordinating the University’s study abroad program, IGS also awards scholarships and grants to faculty and students for a number of global opportunities, and administers internationally-recognized State Department-sponsored programs such as the UD Fulbright Initiative, Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) Student Leaders Institute, Mandela Washington Fellowship Program for Young African Leaders, and most recently the Study of the U.S. Institutes for Student Leaders on Women’s Leadership (SUSI-WL) program.

IGS is the home of the UD Alternative Breaks Program and sponsors such signature events as Global Month each fall and country-specific celebrations each spring.

IGS collaborates with other global partners on campus, including the Office for International Students and Scholars, the Confucius Institute and the Center for Global and Area Studies. In addition, IGS partners with Enrollment Management to coordinate the UD World Scholars Program.

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