“I loved seeing the impact that we were having on the community and how thankful our organizations were for our service.”—Lauren Sinclair
The Alternative Spring Break (ASB) program at JMU is a cherished experience that many students apply to, mainly for the chance to be a part of serving the community. The office of Fraternity and Sorority Life (FSL) helps to plan this trip one year in advance by appointing trip leaders and strategizing the stages of the seven-day adventure. This year, the ASB group flew to Nashville, Tennessee to volunteer at Second Harvest Food Bank, The Little Pantry that Could, Nashville Rescue Mission, Preston Taylor Ministries, and the Nashville Food Project.
FSL Coordinator, David Chew, broke down the many steps that go into planning this trip. “After the trip leaders are selected, they begin planning the trip for next year, which includes securing housing, service opportunities, planning free day activities, developing reflection activities, and selecting participants for the trip.”
Mason Dickerson, senior justice studies major and the Assistant Greek Coordinator of Community Service and Engagement (AGC) for FSL, was in charge of the trip destinations with Chew’s help and supervision over the last year.
“The leaders and myself thought it would be a great experience for both new and returning participants to see the city of Nashville and be able to recognize and measure the impact that they are having on their community,” Dickerson said.
FSL does more than donate their time to the places they’ve visited. “We donate money to each organization volunteered for, and this year we were able to donate $500 to each organization,” Chew explained.
Chew also clarified that FSL has had four consecutive ASB trips, each more successful than the last. He and the rest of the organization at JMU are looking forward to helping plan many more in the future.
“The most rewarding part for me is seeing so many students from the fraternity and sorority community dedicated to community services,” Chew said.
Lauren Sinclair, a senior health science major, was selected to be one of the trip advisors for Tennessee, from March 3rd until the 10th. Her responsibilities involved assigning volunteer opportunities to participants of ASB and ensuring that each contributor was having a meaningful and impactful experience.
“Even though many of us were strangers starting out, by the end of the trip, we were all so close!” Sinclair and other members of the ASB helped out during their stay, but also made sure to have fun along the way. She felt her time spent in Tennessee was fulfilling and the desire for philanthropy is why many apply to be a part of the alternative spring break.
The James Madison University Fraternity and Sorority Life chapters value and emphasize community service both on and off campus. ASB is just one example of the hard work that the FSL members put into improving their community. Those members who were fortunate enough to go to Tennessee for this year’s trip would do it again in a heartbeat and will feel its significance long after graduation.
If the alternative spring break is something that interests you, please go to https://www.jmu.edu/abp/break-types/asb.shtml for more information!