Alternative Spring Break
Alternative Spring Break (ASB) is an opportunity for a student to use his or her Spring
Break to serve those in need rather than themselves. The Alternative Spring Break
Program began in 1994 by the Campus Ministry Office under the direction of Christine
Edmonds. It focused on two primary locations - Ecuador and Mississippi - to assist
established mission programs in both the United States and abroad. Today, the ASB
program has suspended missions abroad upon the request of the Bishop of Dallas, but
we still serve some of the poorest communities in America. Students may apply for
the program in September. Interviews for places on the team(s) are held in October.
Faith formation and community-building begins in November.
Every team member prepares for the mission trip in a few ways. They help with the
fundraising activities of ASB (the Poinsettia Sale, Advent Tree, Valentine's Sale,
and individual contributions). They participate in a one day retreat / community
service project in the Spring semester before Spring Break. This preparation helps
the students begin to form bonds with their teammates as well as mentally and spiritually
prepare for the service they are about to embark upon.
The Alternative Spring Break team(s) leave campus the weekend Spring Break begins
and drive to their service location. Team members live with the communities they serve
in order to more effectively minister to each community's needs. Service to the community
takes many forms: constructing houses, feeding the poor, tutoring children, building
community with the handicapped, etc. The team members’ own spiritual needs are met
through daily prayer, reflection time, and Mass. Through their work, each team member
learns that their act of self-gift leads to an abundance of spiritual gifts in return.
After the mission trip, students return to campus more aware of the fortunes and graces
with which they are blessed. The students speak about their experience at Dinner &
Discourse (an open forum event campus ministry holds every Tuesday night) and write
a personal reflection about their journey, which is published on the website. Many
ASB alumni continue to participate in service while in college and after they graduate. Some
even attend additional Alternative Spring Break weeks with us. ASB team members consistently
say the mission trips are challenging, but that the gifts they received and the friendships
formed are well worth the challenge.
If you desire to promote the mission of the Church, serve your neighbor as Christ
serves you, and discover who you are by participating in an Alternative Spring Break,
contact Scott Chuchla in the Campus Ministry Office at 972-721-5080.