Summer 2017 Service Trips

Our summer 2017 service trips have been unleashed! Follow this website and our social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube) for photos, videos, and more!

Childhood Empowerment

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Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry

WINGS for Kids


Equine Assisted Therapy

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TR 4 Heart and Soul


Urban Gardening

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Chicago Botanic Garden



Apply to be a 2017-2018 Site Leader!

okLakers, 2017-2018 Site Leader applications are officially open! They’ll be available on OrgSync until April 7, 2017.

Did you have a great experience on an AB trip this year? If you want to get more involved, co-facilitate a service trip, and help provide a powerful experience for new participants, this is a fantastic opportunity!

Click here to apply!

Contact us at with any quetions.

2017-2018 Executive Board

(From left to right) Mike [Finance], Tyler [Fundraising], Caitlin [Member Engagement], Olivia [PR & Recruitment], Amber [Vice President], Paul [President], Emma [Community Impact], Haley [Site Development & Assessment], (not pictured) Lauren [Site Development & Assessment]
Congratulations to the newly elected  2017-2018 GVSU Alternative Breaks Executive Board!

  • Olivia BrownVice President of Public Relations and Recruitment
  • Amber GerritsExecutive Vice President
  • Lauren HarveyVice President of Site Development and Assessment
  • Mike MichalskiVice President of Finance
  • Paul MuellerPresident
  • Tyler NortonVice President of Fundraising
  • Caitlin RechsteinerVice President of Member Engagement
  • Haley SchanerVice President of Site Development and Assessment
  • Emma SteeleVice President of Community Impact

Thank you to all of the incredible leaders who participated in the 2017 GVAB elections today. Your outstanding leadership and unique personalities provide life to this organization, and it would not be the same without you. You are respected, valued, and so greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Transformation Tuesday: Animals in Captivity


Transformation Tuesdays are GVSU Alternative Breaks‘ monthly educational event series! They may involve watching a documentary, listening to guest speakers, or engaging in activities in hopes of fostering a constructive space for meaningful and reflective dialogue.

These events are open to all GVSU students, regardless of past Alternative Breaks involvement. They’re also LIB 100/201 approved!


Animals in Captivity is this month’s topic. Join us for a discussion on the ethics of zoos and other forms of animal captivity.

Tuesday, March 28 | 9-10:15 PM | Kirkhof 1104

Questions? Reach out to us at

Spring Break 2017

Affordable HousingLaCasa, Inc.

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Art and Music TherapyProvidence CityArts for Youth, Inc.

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BiodiversityPortland Parks & Recreation


EducationMacon Program for Progress


Engaging the AgingMeals On Wheels Atlanta

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Family AffairsAshby House

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Individuals with DisabilitiesAdam’s Camp

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Native American Cultural AwarenessCherokee Nation Community and Cultural Outreach


Nutrition and WellnessYMCA of Western North Carolina

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Park PreservationHungry Mother State Park

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Refugee AwarenessThe Refugee Education Center, Samaritas New American Services- Grand Rapids, Union Red Hawks- GR

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Relief EffortsSBP

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Water RestorationHiwassee River Watershed Coalition

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Wildlife RefugeCarolina Mountain Land Conservancy

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February 2017 Service Saturday – Rays of Hope International

honeycombThe next Service Saturday is with Rays of Hope International on February 11! Applications are now open on OrgSync!

rays-of-hopeOverview of events:

  • Check-in: Kirkhof 1104 from 8:30-9:00 am. We will depart Kirkhof at 9:30 am.
  • Service: 10:00 am-3:00 pm
  • Reflection will occur at the site after service, then we will head back to campus.

Please note that you will need to pack your own lunch, and please dress for the weather as we will be in an unheated indoor facility.

If you have any questions, please contact us at

This event is open to all GVSU students.
Click here to sign up!



We had a blast working with Rays of Hope, and we can’t wait to return for another Service Saturday!

Alternative Breaks, More Than Just A Trip

The Humans of Alternative Breaks project was launched to give all Alternative Breaks participants a platform for sharing stories about how they’ve been impacted by service experiences. Recently, a GVSU and AB alumna shared her story with us for the project.

In her contribution to Humans of AB, she reflected on her experiences during the spring 2014 Park Preservation trip in Hungry Mother State Park. Inspired by her alternative break, she returned to the park after graduation. What began as a seasonal position grew into a permanent job and a passion for environmental education.

Her story illustrates how an alternative break is much more than just a week-long trip. One’s experience can lead to self-discovery and a lifelong passion for active citizenship.

Alternative Breaks, More Than Just a Trip
Park Preservation in Hungry Mother State Park, Spring 2014

“With the suggestion and encouragement of my roommate, I signed up for an Alternative Spring Breaks trip my senior year. Little did I know, it would change my life immensely.

During the start of my last semester, I found out I had the opportunity to go on the Park Preservation trip at Hungry Mother State Park in Marion, Virginia. I was excited, nervous, and especially curious as to why they would name a state park “Hungry Mother.” I remember the send-off meeting in particular. A guest speaker came and discussed how his ASB trips and experiences had changed his life for the greater good. I remember thinking how awesome it was that a student organization at Grand Valley had such an impact on his life.


My trip started at 5 am in the typical Michigan spring break weather – snow. It was a ten hour journey down to Virginia in a van with eleven strangers. Those next five days at Hungry Mother were amazing. We cleaned cabins and campsites, did trail work, and installed fish habitat in the lake.

But it was the little things that made this trip so special. Having the opportunity to talk with the park employees and friends group was a sweet reminder as to why we were there. They love their jobs and they all have a special connection to the park whether it was the place they spent their childhood summer vacations or relatives that helped build the park. The different projects we worked on seemed so minuscule but it was so much more than that.


I was very fortunate to be able to return to Hungry Mother after I graduated from Grand Valley. What started as a seasonal position has turned into not only a permanent job but a passion. My job’s main focus is on environmental education. My goal is to connect our park visitors to nature and to help them gain a greater appreciation for the environment. No two days are ever the same. I have met so many amazing people in Southwest Virginia, the place I now call home. Whenever I am asked how I ended up down here (the Northern accent sticks out in Southwest Virginia), I tell them about Alternative Breaks, this amazing organization that is more than just a trip.

It’s been almost three years since that amazing experience and I think about it often. I think about those 11 strangers that turned it to great friends. I think about the laughs and memories that were created that week. I think about how those projects we worked on during our trip have benefited the park – and it truly has. Grand Valley has been coming to Hungry Mother for an ASB trip for the past 16+ years and I always look forward to the new group that comes each spring, because they are a part of the legacy here at the park.

“…that’s what I love about these trips, they change us, inspire us, motivate us, and remind us that we all have the ability to change the world.”

I signed up for an Alternative Breaks trip to give back to the community but somehow in the midst of it all, I managed to receive far more than I could have ever imagined. And that’s what I love about these trips, they change us, inspire us, motivate us, and remind us that we all have the ability to change the world.”


Visit the Humans of Alternative Breaks page to read more stories about Alternative Breaks experiences! If you have a story you’d like to contribute to the project, contact us at

You can also find the project on our Facebook and Instagram.

Grand Rapids Griffins Fundraiser


Members of Alternative Breaks are currently selling tickets for the Grand Rapids Griffins hockey game on Friday, February 17! The game is at 7 PM and features $2 hot dogs and other great deals on concessions.

Tickets are being sold for $15 and $3 per ticket is donated to AB!

Site Leaders, this is a great opportunity to earn fundraising points. Additionally, going to the game is a great way for AB trips to bond before or after their trip!

If you are interested in selling tickets or would like to buy tickets from us directly, contact us at

If you’re selling tickets and would like to promote them on social media, here are a few promotional images you can use: