Alternative Breaks returning as day trips

A group of students on an alternative break volunteer at Whaley Children's Center in 2019.

Alternative Breaks will be back at Central Michigan University in some capacity starting in late October. 

Instead of overnight trips, the Mary Ellen Brandell Volunteer Center will be bringing back Alternative Fridays. Every other week, students will spend the day doing service in local communities and then come back and reflect on their experiences.

According to Volunteer Center Assistant Director Symantha Misale Dattilo, the volunteer center is following CMU’s COVID-19 guidelines. Meaning for now, overnight trips are not possible.

“We're focusing primarily on outdoor experiences so that students can properly mask and social distance in outdoor spaces,” Dattilo said. “We'll be following all of the CMU health and safety guidelines.”

Last year Alternative Breaks were not possible due to pandemic health and safety guidelines. Now, Dattilo said a lot of careful planning is going into Alternative Breaks so students can get volunteer experience without putting themselves and the communities at risk.

 “(Last year) we were doing service to communities, by not coming into their spaces,” Dattilo said. “The students took what they learned about community from years prior, and put it into action when it really mattered.”

The first Alternative Friday is scheduled for Oct. 29, the community partner is yet to be announced. 

More information about Alternative Breaks is available on Engage Central or in the Mary Ellen Brandell Volunteer Center in Bovee 106.