UM-Flint to reveal 2018 Alternative Summer Break destination

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Philadelphia, PA was the destination for UM-Flint's 2017 Alternative Summer Break.
Philadelphia, PA was the destination for UM-Flint's 2017 Alternative Summer Break.

University of Michigan-Flint is signing up students for this year’s Alternative Summer Break. This is the fourth year University Outreach has held the break, which focuses on civic engagement in cities beyond the state of Michigan.

This year, students will address issues related to community development, hunger and food security, veterans and youth, and human trafficking.

In previous years, Alternative Summer Break has been held in Philadelphia, Chicago, and New Orleans. The location of this year’s trip will be unveiled between 5 and 6 p .m. in the Happenings Room of the University Center on June 4.

Students are encouraged to sign up before this time, as the focus is on the issues involved independent of the destination. Organizers expect at least 40 students to participate this year. The trip is August 19 through August 25.

The summer break trips help students further develop awareness of social issues, said University Outreach coordinator Gary Ashley.

“It’s so important for students to see other parts of the U.S. and how they might be struggling with similar issues. It benefits our campus and community when the students learn how these different communities tackle these issues and attempt to solve them. At that point, we have an opportunity to bring those ideas back to Flint and implement them here.”

University Outreach leads a series of co-curricular ventures for the university community. Alternative Spring Break, has been a university staple for more than a decade. Service Saturdays, in which faculty, staff, and students can volunteer for a part of a day in the Flint area, was started three years ago. And last year, Outreach formed MiBreaks, in which students spend a weekend in different parts of Michigan helping out.

The day after the destination for this year’s trip is announced, UM-Flint will be honored in East Lansing as a recipient of one of the 2018 Governor’s Service Awards. The university is being honored June 5 as an education service leader.

“The Governor’s Service Award is a great honor for the University of Michigan-Flint,” Ashley said. “It is programs like Alternative Breaks that give students real life experience in the Flint community and beyond. University of Michigan-Flint students continue to demonstrate why they are the leaders and best.”

Robert is a staff writer in University Communications & Marketing. Contact him with comments, questions, and story ideas.