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Alternative Breaks Program publishes book of student reflections

Elon University staff who oversee the Alternative Breaks Program in the Kernodle Center for Service Learning and Community Engagement have published a book that features insights from students on service work performed in communities near and far.

‚ÄčA new book published this fall chronicles reflections from Elon University students who took part in spring break experiences from New Orleans to Nicaragua that were focused on addressing social issues such as education disparities and environmental sustainability.

Supported by the university's Writing Excellence Initiative, "More Than Just a Trip: Reflections from Alternative Break" was a collaborative effort led by Elon staff who manage the Alternative Breaks Program in the Kernodle Center for Service Learning and Community Engagement.

The Alternative Breaks Program has been working in recent years to deepen a reflective writing component to student experiences. Kernodle Center staff said students have learned to connect their work in communities to academic experiences and further explore their commitment to addressing the greater good and become active citizens.

The approach has allowed the Division of Student Life to make a contribution to the university's Writing Excellence Initiative as part of the institution's Quality Enhancement Program, staff members said.

"More Than Just a Trip" was edited by Evan Small, assistant director of student programs, and Kim Lilienthal ’14, a former Elon Volunteers! student leader and current graduate student pursuing her master's degree in English rhetoric and composition at North Carolina State University.

Small and Lilienthal worked together to design reflection prompts, develop an effective reflective writing structure, and train student leaders to facilitate reflective writing.

Alternative Breaks are educational experiences that involve students in collaborative efforts with community organizations to address local issues. Reflection is a crucial component of any service-learning experience and is a foundational element of the Alternative Breaks Program. More than 300 students, staff, and faculty participate each year in these immersive service projects in communities around the world.

Each Alternative Breaks program is led by two student coordinators who work with faculty and staff from across campus who serve as advisors.

Kernodle Center staff credited several people and organizations with making the book possible: Professor Tom Arcaro, director of Project Pericles at Elon; the national office of Project Pericles; and the Eugene M. Lang Foundation and The Teagle Foundation for ongoing financial support and encouragement throughout this project. 

The book is a direct result of Elon University’s participation in the "Creating Paths to Civic Engagement" project. For more information on this project or on the Alternative Breaks Program, please contact Evan Small at esmall@elon.edu


Eric Townsend,
10/6/2015 10:45 AM