The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Students consider taking an ‘alternative’

Ben Wells was looking for an inexpensive way to have some fun and help others over Spring Break, but what he got instead were life changing experiences and friendships.

SMU’s Alternative Spring Break program took Wells, now ASB’s Coordinator, to Waldo, Florida, “a little town in the middle of a National Forest and next to a prison,” describes Wells. He spent the week with a handful of other SMU students meeting the people of Waldo, and working with the Junior Achievement program, which teaches kids about the importance of free enterprise in hopes of bettering their lives in the future. “To be honest, it was hard,” Wells confides. A lot of the people he met on Alternative Spring Break were from abusive and/or impoverished homes with parents and relatives in jail. The students worked hard all week, and Wells wouldn’t have traded what he learned for anything. He says, “the best part about ASB is how it brings you new experiences that you just can’t find at SMU.”

And this year, ASB is taking 50 students to various parts of the United States. Groups will leave on March 11 and return on the 19.

The program is designed to allow participants to choose a service site that fits their interest.

“I was concerned because I can’t use a hammer,” said Jessica Pecena, a student interested in attending ASB. “I was glad to see that they had other options.”

The sites range from the environmentally focused restoration of the Cumberland Trial in Chattanooga, Tenn. to serving in a battered women and children’s home in El Paso, Texas. There is also a week long Habitat for Humanity option in Clarksville, Georgia where students will help build a house for a family that would otherwise be unable to own its own home.

By providing these options, ASB hopes to help students create a week devoted to their passions and in the areas they comfortable serving.

“ASB is a low cost option and a lot of people don’t have time to volunteer. Spring break is a whole week off with nothing to do, so why not help some people and have fun too,” said Ashley Moss, ASB’s Public Relations Chair.

ASB, in its 18th year at SMU, is the oldest volunteer organization on campus.

Previous service experience isn’t necessary, in fact, all participants are required to attend two training sessions where they are oriented with the community they will be staying in and educated on relevant topics.

Throughout the trip, the site leaders will guide the group through the service experience to maximize the impact on the individual.

The trip costs $150, unless a student plans to attend the Habitat for Humanity trip, which is $185. Scholarships are available.

Student and faculty and staff applications are still being accepted and can be downloaded from the SPARC Web site at

Any questions about applying should be directed to ASB’s Recruitment Chair, Lucy Duke, at [email protected] or by calling (214)-768-4403. Applications are due Feb. 20.

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