University of Wisconsin – Madison students volunteer with Campus Pride for Alternative Break Program

Alternative spring break trips, also known as “Alt breaks,” are a unique opportunity for college students to engage in community service and personal development while taking a break from traditional vacationing. These trips often involve working on service projects such as environmental conservation, rebuilding homes, or working with youth or senior citizens. Alt breaks can be organized by universities, nonprofits, or other organizations, and they may take place locally, nationally, or internationally.

Campus Pride, a non-profit organization based in Charlotte, North Carolina, is dedicated to creating safer and more inclusive environments for LGBTQ+ individuals on college campuses throughout the United States. Campus Pride offers a range of programs and services to support LGBTQ+ college students and their allies, including the Campus Pride Index, Safe Space Training, Camp Pride, Alternative Break, LGBTQ-Friendly College Fairs, and research and advocacy efforts. Through these initiatives, Campus Pride aims to promote policy change, create positive campus environments, and develop leadership skills among LGBTQ+ students and allies.

One of Campus Pride’s initiatives is the Alternative Break program, which offers various opportunities for LGBTQ+ and ally college students to participate in community service projects during their spring break. Students can volunteer at LGBTQ+ youth centers in New York City or work with LGBTQ+ organizations in New Orleans, among other options. These programs offer students a chance to learn about LGBTQ+ culture and issues while making a positive impact on the world and building valuable skills and networking connections for personal and professional growth.

Campus Pride recently partnered with the Wisconsin Union Directorate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison to connect with nine student leaders who spent their week-long Alt break learning and completing service projects to support Campus Pride’s mission. Despite initial worries about inclusion and safety in a vastly different culture from their own, the students found comfort and purpose throughout the week. When asked about their motivations for participating in the Alt Break program, the students focused on the opportunity to make a meaningful impact while also taking a break from their usual routine.

During the week, the student leaders volunteered their time to research universities with anti-LGBTQ+ policies and controversies, test a new mentoring platform called Career Connect, and create social media content. Beyond their working time, the students had the opportunity to hear from LGBTQ+ community members, leaders, and openly-queer employees at Ally Center Charlotte, allowing for networking and community building. Through impactful service, vulnerable conversations, and intentional learning, the students were able to further their goals while having fun on their Alt break. Overall, Campus Pride’s Alternative Break program provides a unique and fulfilling way for college students to contribute to their communities, while also gaining valuable personal and leadership development skills.

Alternative spring break trips provide an excellent opportunity for college students to engage in meaningful community service while gaining personal and leadership development skills. Campus Pride’s participation in the Alternative Break program is a great example of an organization that offers students the chance to make a positive impact on the world while learning about and supporting the LGBTQ+ community. The week showcased the success of the Alternative Break program and the transformative experiences it provides for students. By participating in Alt breaks, college students can contribute to society, develop new skills, and form lasting connections with their communities.

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