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Western students to aid in natural disaster relief

Two Alternative Break teams prepare to serve this spring break

Sam Dunaway | News Editor

For students that wish to make a meaningful impact by serving others, travel nationally or internationally and experience life outside of their comfort zone: Western’s Alternative Break program may be a great place to start.

The Alternative Break program, organized by the Service Learning and Career Development center, allows students to spend winter, spring and summer breaks serving others. This community service may be achieved regionally, nationally or internationally and aids in a wide variety of issues including working with children in impoverished areas, community beautification projects and animal conservation.

Two Alternative Break teams are preparing to aid in natural disaster relief efforts during spring break. A group of six students and two advisors are traveling to Houston, Texas to assist in community recovery from Hurricane Harvey. The other team, composed of ten students and two staff advisors, is traveling to the Columbia Gorge to help with relief from the forest fires that affected the area in fall of 2017.

“I want to help serve the Columbia Gorge community because the fires in that area were very devastating,” commented Tiffany Lewis, Alternative Break co-leader for the Oregon team. “Many people love the Columbia Gorge and I want to help restore that area in any way I can.”

All Western students are welcome to apply to be an Alternative Break team member. Students must be enrolled at Western in all terms between application and departure, and be in good academic and judicial standing.

Daisy Chavez, leading alongside Lewis, chose to get involved in this program to grow as a leader and challenge herself. Chavez has previously served on Alternative Breaks in Jamaica, Honduras and Peru.

“Being on these trips have taught me so much: new cultures, new experiences, and how to love service even more,” explained Chavez. “Service and exploring new places is something I really love, so participating in service trips really fulfills my passion for service and traveling.”

Chavez encourages students to get involved in the program and apply: “I highly recommend it to anyone who is looking to do service as well as merge into a new community. Service teams have made my college experience so much better because they have helped me grow not only as a person but as a leader as well. I have also met so many great people and have created memories that will last a lifetime.”

Visit for more information on the Alternative Break program and how to apply for future service opportunities.

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Photo by: Alternative break program staff