Alternative Stories #4: Finding the “learning” in service-learning

Every week, members and partners of the Alternative Spring Break (ASB) community will share their Alternative Stories, a series of narratives inspired by the experiences, memories, and meanings made and shared through ASB. Jennifer Liu, an Industrial and Operations Engineering senior and ASB Lead Team member on our Finance & Fundraising functional team, shares her story this week. 

419986_3278938459788_1877283227_nI first heard about Alternative Spring Break (ASB) from my older sister, who came back from spring break in college with a ton of new ASBFFs and an experience that apparently “changed her life.” All I remember was jealously searching all her new friends on Facebook. … But that was enough to convince me to join!

As a participant, I went to the Madison Square Boys & Girls Club in Brooklyn, N.Y., where we volunteered in an after school-tutoring program with K-12 students. I was inspired to learn more about social issues and inequities across all communities, and knew that my involvement in the program would not end there.

The next year, I site-led a trip to Youth Co-Op in Miami, Fla. and worked closely with newly arrived Cuban refugees in language development and community integration. This experience filled me with more emotions than I could make sense of. I was sad for the refugees who will likely never see their families in Cuba again, angry at the policies that restricted their working rights in the United States, and motivated to do something about immigration reform.1961987_617390031673547_805930171_o

At this point in my ASB journey, I had one of the most important realizations: ASB does not aim to create change by sending community service trips to help under-served communities. It aims to educate students on various social issues, who we hope will move forward with a newly formed passion for social change.

As a senior and a second-year Lead Team member, ASB has taught me things that no other student org or experience has. I learned more about my community, my passions, my relationships, and myself than I could have ever imagined. I will always carry the lessons ASB has taught me wherever I go.

 

To share your Alternative Spring Break story, e-mail the ASB Public Relations Team at ASBSurPRise@umich.edu.

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