Alternative Spring Break

Program Overview

ASB is an exciting opportunity for you to participate in a one week, hands-on, Community Engaged Learning experience during Reading Week or at the beginning of May! You might choose to join a team that is teaching English, providing medical clinics to under-serviced communities, or helping to support programs for at-risk populations in our own community of London, Ontario... it's completely up to you!

When you participate in an ASB experience, you'll get the chance to learn about different cultures, communities, and social issues by working with a variety of community organizations. You'll also have a unique opportunity to learn from your teammates - on site, through your reflective practice, and in the pre-departure workshops leading up to your experience.

It is our objective for you to return from your experience with a greater understanding of the challenges facing the community, as well as the community's capacity to enact sustainable change. We also hope you will return to Western with an increased sense of civic engagement and intercultural competency, and an idea of how your experience connects to your current academic studies and future career.

The main difference between the ASB program and other volunteer opportunities is the dual emphasis placed on the service AND the learning that takes place during the experience. Each ASB experience offers you the opportunity to work and serve alongside individuals and organizations in the heart of the community. This hands-on interaction is important as you begin to understand what it feels like to be an engaged citizen.

You'll also have the opportunity to process your experience through reflective practice, including group discussion, personal journaling, readings, and other learning activities. This learning is just as important, as you begin to understand more about the social, cultural, and economic issues facing different communities, and what it means to be an engaged citizen.

Goals

The goals of the ASB program are:

  1. to develop mutually-beneficial partnerships between Western students and community organizations locally, nationally and globally;
  2. to encourage active participation in the community and increase students' civic engagement;
  3. to support students' academic success and career development

These goals connect to the overall mission of the program, which encourages participants to "be the change" they want to see in the world and in themselves. While we recognize the limitations of a one- or two-week experience, for both the community and the student, we are consistently impressed with the change students are able to affect in their personal lives, within their academic studies, and in their community involvements, beyond the scope of ASB.