Spring 2016 — Andrew Brewington, an industrial engineering student at OSU, participated in the Alternative Spring Break program run by the Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) in 2015, an experience that he says gave him greater perspective. The CCE program offers three service trips for students who want to engage in transformative, experiential learning opportunities as they take a break from their classes.
Brewington learned about the Alternative Spring Break program from a fellow brother in the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity and chose the trip that traveled to Yakima. Though he is from the area, he had never visited the service trip destinations and wanted to learn about communities in eastern Washington. The service trip participants interacted with members of the Yakama Nation, a Native American reservation; Yakima city officials; and Latinx migrant workers living in the Yakima valley. The trip focused on building community and creating cultural immersion, which was facilitated through service projects and excursions.
Andrew Brewington in Yakima, Washington.
“We went to the Yakima Nation longhouse for a ceremony and the Yakima Cultural Museum, played with children at the Apas Goudy playground, toured the Radio Cadena station, and saw the resources available to those without housing in the city of Yakima,” Brewington said. Additionally, students on the trip helped teach English to Latinx migrant workers and attended the Wapato Middle School cultural festival.
Students also have the opportunity to head south to San Francisco or Ashland during the spring break trips. The San Francisco trip’s concentration is on hunger and homelessness and alleviating the burden many San Franciscans face, and the Ashland trip focuses on environmental restoration by working with local leaders on environmental threats to the community.
Brewington wishes more people knew how impactful immersing yourself in another community by participating in one of these trips can be. He also wants others to know that the trips are affordable and the CCE offers travel grants for qualifying students.
Visit the CCE website to learn more about Alternative Break trips and other center programming.