Katy Bennett

By

Giving Back During UK Breaks: Who Does That?

Published: Mar 5, 2013

 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 5, 2013) — For the past few months, many UK students have been looking forward to a favorite college tradition — Spring Break. For some students this means hitting the gym, getting ready to hit the beach. For others, it’s calling their summer job in hopes of a week to work and make a little extra money. But for students participating in the Center for Community Outreach’s Alternative Service Breaks (ASB) program, it is a time to prepare for serving others and learning about the issues faced by people across the globe.

ASB Logo

 

In 2008, UK’s ASB program was developed as a part of the national movement to involve college students in community-based service projects and to give students opportunities to learn about the complex issues faced by members of diverse communities. Starting with three service trips in its first year, ASB has continued to grow, expanding to nine service trips in the 2012-13 academic year. These trips include weekend service trips aimed at serving communities throughout the Commonwealth of Kentucky, at the Center for Courageous Kids in Scottsville, Ky., and other Kentucky locations. In addition to Spring Break trips, a winter service break opportunity was added to the program as well this year.

 

Drew Ritzel, a junior biology major from Dayton, Ohio, went on his first ASB trip as a freshman and since that experience, he’s been hooked.

 

“I went on an alternative service break trip my freshman year to the Dominican Republic,” Ritzel, director of the CCO’s Alternative Service Breaks Program, said. “It was actually the first international trip, and I was a little bit nervous. I was a freshman; I didn't know anyone else on the trip. We helped out at an orphanage and taught English, and it was such an amazing experience that really it opened my eyes to the world of volunteer work.”

 

Ritzel is just one of hundreds of UK students who have participated in an ASB trip — either a weekend excursion or a weeklong adventure — to volunteer.

 

“I was so busy as a freshman — and still am — but I had volunteered a lot in high school, and I loved that aspect,” he said. “But when I came to college, I really didn't have as much time. I really sort of missed out on volunteer opportunities. I decided that I wanted to spend my Spring Break doing volunteer work. I think that was honestly one of the best decisions I've ever made, because I was able to just spend that week, forget about school for a little bit and focus on something that really matters. And that changed everything for me.”

 

This weekend, ASB is hitting the road, taking groups of students to volunteer in locations across the globe; each opportunity is focused on different issues facing society: Guyan Valley, W.Va.: Poverty in Appalachia; Atlanta, Ga.: Refugee Resettlement; Biloxi, Miss.: Rebuilding After Katrina; Washington, D.C.: Hunger and Homelessness; Santo Domingo, Ecuador: Global Health and Wellness; and Monte Cristi, Dominican Republic: Global Youth Empowerment.

 

“With Alternative Service Breaks, it's not just about the service trip.” Ritzel explained. “We do a lot of meetings beforehand to educate students about the issue. We also do training and host a pre-trip service event. That way students get exposed to the issue before going on the trip itself. During the trip, we also have nightly reflections to talk about the issue and to talk about what we're experiencing, When we return to campus, we reconnect with all of the students who participated in the various trips, we show a slideshow, and we’re able to talk about our experiences. With these trips, we encourage students not just to volunteer for this one week but really to create a lifestyle of doing volunteer work. We promote active citizenship where students are really engaged in the community and the issues around them.”

 

Participating in an ASB trip is frequently a way that students get their feet wet with the idea of traveling internationally — one that often turns into a longer study abroad experience. Other students come back from their experiences with a renewed passion for service that causes them to change their majors to help them tackle the global issue they’ve experienced. One thing every participant in an ASB program comes back to campus with — new friendships and lasting memories.

Photo of group in Nicaragua on ASB Trip
Drew Ritzel and others on an ASB trip in Nicaragua

 

“I think our trips are really one of a kind,” Ritzel said. ”You're spending a week meeting new people, doing volunteer work, and honestly, it's really life-changing. It's something that's a little bit hard to describe until you've actually done it. It really opens your perception to the world around you and just makes you so much more aware. I think that trips like this will really change your life. I've heard so many stories about volunteers that come back to UK and change their major, change their life goals just because of these weeklong service trips, and it's something that's pretty amazing.”

 

Students, with a professional staff adviser, lead ASB and trips are planned for students, by students. While the deadline to participate in this year’s programs has passed, students are encouraged to connect with ASB now to begin planning for trips in the fall and spring of 2014. Visit ASB’s website at www.ukasb.org or click here to connect with ASB on Facebook.

 

Alternative Service Breaks is a program housed in the Center for Community Outreach. The CCO seeks to serve, connect and unite the University of Kentucky with the surrounding community in collaborative efforts to promote life-long community service. For more information about the CCO, visit getinvolved.uky.edu/cco. Connect with the CCO on Facebook here and on Twitter at twitter.com/ukcco.

 

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT:  Katy Bennett, katy.bennett@uky.edu; (859) 257-1909

asb_pic.jpgnicaragua_10_group_photo_with_kids.jpgasb_logo_tag.jpg
October
 
 
 
1
Internship Info Session
LNFS Presents: Dallas Buyers Club
College of Law Welcomes Trevor Potter
Wed
2
Dancing at Lughnasa
LNFS Presents: Notes on Marie Menken
LNFS Presents: Edge of Tomorrow
UK Jazz Ensemble/ UK Lab Band
Earth & Environmental Science Student Open House
"Nerd Night" Exhibit and Concert
"Anne Braden: Southern Patriot" Film Screening and Discussion
Thu
3
Dancing at Lughnasa
LNFS Presents: My Neighbor Totoro
LNFS Presents: (500) Days of Summer
Men's Soccer vs. Old Dominion
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Alabama
Fri
4
Dancing at Lughnasa
Kentucky Football vs. South Carolina
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Rock Climbing @ Red River Gorge
Cross Cultural Workshop 2014
Swing Dancing!
Sat
5
Dancing at Lughnasa
Cross Cultural Workshop 2014
UK Children's Hospital/Birthing Center Annual Perinatal Loss "Walk To Remember"
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Texas A&M
Sun
6
Dancing at Lughnasa
Murals of Baltimore
Resumes and Cover Letters
Mon
7
Dancing at Lughnasa
Murals of Baltimore
Networking and Job Search
UK Choristers
Rock Star Professionalism Series
Stillness in Motion: The Essence of Symmetry - presented by Dr. Carl Lee, Mathematics
Tue
8
Dancing at Lughnasa
Murals of Baltimore
LNFS Presents: Night of the Living Dead
UK Law Day
Wed
9
Dancing at Lughnasa
Murals of Baltimore
LNFS Presents: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Mark Berry, Guest Percussion Recital
National Depression Screening Day
LNFS Presents: Torch Song Trilogy
Thu
10
Dancing at Lughnasa
LNFS Presents: Shut Up and Play the Hits
LNFS Presents: Watchmen
KLJ Data Privacy Symposium
Family Weekend Check-in
Big Blue Pantry Food Drive #1
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. South Carolina
Family Weekend: Derek Hughes
Fri
11
Dancing at Lughnasa
Kentucky Football vs. ULM
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
UK International Tent/ Tailgate Party
CT Surgery Symposium: Advances in the Surgical Management of Cardiothoracic Diseases:
Family Weekend Tent Party
Sat
12
Dancing at Lughnasa
DNT 101: A Taste of the Kentucky Doughnut Trail
Big Blue Pantry Food Drive #2
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Auburn
Sunday Lunch at Historic Spindletop Hall
Men's Soccer vs. Marshall
Sun
13
 
Mon
14
Job Club - Social Media and Your Career
Massage on the Go
Tue
15
LNFS Presents: The Last Samurai
UK Symphony Band Concert
Women's Forum Conference 2014
#TrendingTopics: Pornography vs. Morality
Wed
16
Career Assessment Workshop
LNFS Presents: The Tree of Life
LNFS Presents: Guardians of the Galaxy
UK Wind Symphony
Thu
17
LNFS Presents: Princess Mononoke
LNFS Presents: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Ole Miss
Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet
Fri
18
Paint the Town Blue
Free Kaplan Entrance Practice Exams
4th Annual Big Blue Soccer Tournament
Men's Soccer vs. New Mexico
Swing Dancing and Costumes?
Sat
19
Paint the Town Blue
UK Men's Chorus and acoUstiKats
Jazz Spectacular
UK Student Pajama Party
Kentucky Volleyball vs. LSU
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Florida
Sun
20
Paint the Town Blue
Midterm of 2014 Fall Semester
Returning to Work and Breastfeeding
Open Access Week Kickoff Event (Webcast)
Grad School 101
Royalty Showcase
Mon
21
Graduate and Professional School Prep Week: Preparing for Law School
Graduate and Professional School Prep Week: Grad School Panel: Surviving Your 1st Year
Film & Panel Discussion: Be Like Others
Graduate and Professional School Showcase
Your Publication, Your Choice: Choosing the Right Open Access Journal
Graduate and Professional School Prep Week
Graduate and Professional School Prep Week
Kitty Karnival
Tue
22
Study Tips for Medical School
LNFS Presents: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Thank-A-Donor Day
Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Information Session
Getting Into Medical School
Wed
23
Writing a Winning Personal Statement
Career Assessment Workshop
LNFS Presents: Marimbas From Hell
LNFS Presents: The Fault in Our Stars
Generation Open: Researchers' Roles in the Age of Openness
Homecoming Street Fair
Thu
24
LNFS Presents: Kiki's Delivery Service
LNFS Presents: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
"see blue." Day at Keeneland
Peanut Butter Drive
Pumpkin Carving Tournament
Fri
25
Kentucky Football vs. Mississippi State
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Sat
26
UK Women's Choir and Paws and Listen
Bill Cooper Faculty Recital
Sun
27
UK Trumpet Ensemble
Undergraduate Research Information Session "How to Find A Mentor"
Mon
28
Job Club - How To Get A Job at UK: Updates on IES Applicant Tracking System
Common Reading Experience Author Lecture: Presenting Ishmael Beah
Tue
29
Internship Info Session
LNFS Presents: The Shining
Pinterest Party
Leadership Assessment
"see boo." Halloween Party
Society for the Promotion of Undergraduate Research (SPUR) Meeting
#UKEDTALKS: Design Thinking with Dr. John Nash
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Tennessee
Wed
30
Career Assessment Workshop
LNFS Presents: Lucy
LNFS Presents: Papirosen
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Alabama
Thu
31
LNFS Presents: ParaNorman
LNFS Presents: Carrie
All Hallow's Eve Concert (UK Symphony Orchestra)
Work-Life Retirement Conference
Fri
 
Reset Page