While others were on spring break, we were on spring build

During the week of March 11, nearly 200 students participated in GW’s Alternative Breaks program, traveling around the country to lend a hand.

They were in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and Joplin, Missouri, providing disaster relief from tornados. They were in Harlan County, Kentucky, building and repairing homes for needy families in the fight against rural poverty. They were in New York City, helping to empower the city’s homeless LGBT youth, who make up nearly 50% of New York’s homeless population under the age of 25.

They were in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. They were in Gullah Nation, South Carolina. They were in New Orleans, Louisiana. They were in Immokalee, Florida. Just because there’s no class doesn’t mean GW students weren't out learning and changing the world.

And it’s not just spring break. GW students know how to get their hands dirty during their winter downtime, too. This coming winter, the Alt Breaks program will send students to Guatemala, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, Los Angeles and New Orleans.

After launching in 1991 with a trip to Northern Ireland, the Alternative Breaks program has grown dramatically, but it’s still just one part of the great culture of service at GW. As a student, that culture begins your first month on campus through the Freshman Day of Service—this year, students logged 7,200 hours of community service at 35 sites in the Washington, D.C., Virginia, and Maryland—and it continues throughout your time at GW through programs like GW Responds, Civic House, Jumpstart, DC Reads, and the Neighbors Project, not to mention service-learning in your classes and plenty of recurring events.

Of course, that culture of service doesn’t end on commencement day. Our thousands of graduates leave GW knowing how to change the world, and they put that knowledge to use every day.

Alternative Break 2010