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Alternative Spring Break

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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.


When will the trip be?
Sunday, March 15 - Saturday, March 21

Where are we going?
Kansas City, MO

What will we be doing?
A Simple House serves project and Section 8 neighborhoods in southeast Washington, DC and Kansas City, MO. Our work involves meeting people in their neighborhoods and in their homes, and it is focused upon the parents instead of the children. A Simple House believes that the best hope of every child is their parent, and there can be nothing better for a child than to have their parent transformed in Christ. This transformation may help a mother or father overcome depression, drug addiction, and self-destructive behavior. In addition, a true transformation makes someone embrace family life and their role as a parent. As an article of faith, we know that conversion is possible for every human, but unfortunately, our society has written off troubled inner-city adults as unreachable. The overwhelming number of families in our neighborhoods are lead by single mothers, and mothers have become the main focus of our ministry.

How much will it cost?
We ask each student to personally fundraise half of the trip cost, $250, to support our trip – DUE BY February 1. In addition we will require all participants to take part in group fundraising efforts throughout the year. If chosen for the team, students may wish to make various personal purchases (snacks, souvenirs, etc.) throughout the week. We ask you to provide your own money for these instances. Anywhere from $25-$100 is sufficient.

How many of us are going? 
There is room on this trip for 13 students. Campus Minister Shelby Ponikiewski will be leading the trip along with one other male chaperone.

What is the application process?
To apply, click HERE to fill out the form by 11:59 PM on Thursday, October 18th, 2018. When you apply, there will be a link to sign up for an interview slot as well. Your interview and application will be taken into consideration when choosing participants for the trip. If you are chosen you will receive a letter of acceptance and will then accept or decline your spot on the team. 

How do you decide who goes on ASB?
Each student is evaluated on a case by case basis, taking into consideration a variety of factors, including (but not limited to) the following: 

  • Application Responses
  • Year
  • Availability
  • Promptness of Application submission and timeliness to scheduled interview 
  • Past Experience on ASB/ Mission Trips (not a requirement)

What is the time commitment? 
Once the team is selected in late October, there will be approximately one hour a week dedicated to on-campus fundraising for the remainder of the Fall. In the Spring there will be the same one-hour-per-week commitment. You will also be asked to commit to one day of team formation in the Spring, which is scheduled for Saturday, February 15th.

For any questions please contact campus minister Shelby Ponikiewski 972-721-5165 or