Alternative Service Break

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In Civic Engagement at Georgia Tech, March is service trip season! Alternative Service Breaks (ASB) is a student organization, supported through Civic Engagement, that develops student-planned and student-led service trip experiences during major breaks in the academic year. In a typical spring semester, ASB student leaders are facilitating social issue education, training student trip leaders (TLs), meeting with Georgia Tech faculty and staff trip advisors, double-checking packing lists and paperwork, and communicating all of the final travel details to our community partners ahead of departure. Spring break kicks off as we wave goodbye to our groups departing by car or plane to travel to their service trip locations. 

In March 2020, for the first time in nine years, ASB did not travel for spring break. As news of Covid-19 continued tointensify, ASB made the decision to cancel all five spring service trips — first our flight-based trips to California, Belize, and Dominican Republic and eventually the two driving trips to South Carolina and Florida. This decision was challenging, but clear. Safety was of utmost importance — to our Georgia Tech students and staff, but also to the communities we’d be entering if we were to travel.

As ASB student leaders connected in the summer, the decision to figure out a virtual path to serve and program was unanimous. Travel was always a highlight of the ASB experience, but it was never the “why,” and the student leaders agreed that programming rooted in the ASB values of education, connection, and reflection was possible through any structure that we’d face in the 2020-21 academic year.

Since August, ASB has developed multiple virtual service and social issue programs for the Georgia Tech community that continue to highlight ASB’s areas of focus – service, education, and connection. Fall 2020 featured a four-week, virtualprogram highlighting the relationship between racial equity and education access, as well as a service project focused oneducational material development for a local middle school. During winter break, ASB hosted “Impact from Home,” a four-week, virtual program highlighting the exploration of three service-issue areas along with weekly challenges to engage in community from home. This program highlighted the many ways we can connect to our community even if in-person volunteering is limited, with focus on daily behavior changes, education and awareness raising, and virtual service experiences.

In March, ASB will launch the next four-week, virtual program, which is free and open to Georgia Tech students! Embracing our love for learning more about the communities we serve during trips, we will embrace Atlanta as our destination for this program. Each week will feature a social or service issue that is particularly connected to the Atlanta community, speakers and subject experts on the topics, and opportunities to serve both virtually and in-person (in line with social distancing policy) with other program participants. We can’t wait for the chance to learn and serve with our Georgia Tech community this semester!

For more information, or to sign up for the March 2021 program, Georgia Tech students can visit: 

As we look ahead to future semesters, we know that we will return to travel-based service trips when the time is right. We will also carry forward programming we have developed that allows us to connect Georgia Tech students and community partners in more accessible ways. Since spring 2012, ASB has grown to offer more than 10 trips per year to places throughout the United States as well as international trips. 

As we continue to add service partner sites and trip experiences, one of our priorities as an organization is to ensure thatASB service trips are not cost prohibitive to those who want to attend.

If you are interested in helping ASB provide cost-effective trips for all and supplemental funding for students who need financial support to participate, please consider donating to the “Sarah Perkins Alternative Service Break Fund” endowment. You can make a one-time gift online here. Add your gift to “Other Designation” and please specify “ASB Sarah Cantrell Perkins Endowment”. You can also schedule additional gifts using online giving.  


  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created By: tbarker30
  • Created: 03/03/2021
  • Modified By: tbarker30
  • Modified: 03/03/2021


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