Indiana State University has participated in Alternative Spring Break each year since 2004, sending Sycamores across the country to serve in projects ranging from assisting international refugees to aiding in Hurricane Katrina Relief work. Alternative Spring Break is a great opportunity for ISU students to volunteer in the national community and serve those in need. Many students and advisors return from the trips with different perspectives and describe their experiences as “life changing."

2014 Sites

  • Possumwood Acres Wildlife Sanctuary, Hubert, NC:  The 10 ISU students and 2 staff who attended the North Carolina ASB trip had a wonderful experience this year to Possum Wood Acres and Lynwood Park Zoo. They were able to take care of wildlife, organize, and build new fencing. The students were able to make new friends and make a difference; all in the name of service.
  • Once Upon a Time, Maryville, Tennessee:  Ten from Indiana State University traveled by van to Once Upon A Time in Maryville, TN - between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Cherokee National Forest. During the day they participated in community service outreach including visiting a nursing home, providing afterschool tutoring, working with a Cherokee family to clear land for a cemetery, and clean-up projects in the national parks. In addition to service projects they learned about Appalachian and Cherokee history and culture. The group bonded in the spirit of service and enjoyed singing, laughing, and hiking together. Those who aren’t graduating this year look forward to participating in an alternative spring break trip next year!
  • Dominican Republic:  A group of 24 students traveled to the Dominican Republic, where they worked with an orphanage, nursing home, distributed food in a local village, and had the opportunity to learn about the Dominican culture.

2013 Sites

  • Once Upon a Time, Maryville, Tennessee:  Once Upon A Time in Appalachia's mission focuses on the Cherokee Nation, the environment, and rural Appalachia. Students participated in a variety of activities while in Maryville, some of which include trail maintenance and canning food.
  • Appalachian South Folklife Center, Pipestem, WV:  The students worked with one family assisting in home repair and yard work. Students also had the opportunity to learn about the history of the local community and the unique culture of the people who were raised in the Appalachian Mountains.
  • Cumberland Trail Conference, Crossville, TN:  Students had the opportunity to help create and build the Cumberland Scenic Trail, while learning about the historical, cultural, and natural resources of the Cumberland Plateau.
  • Freedom Foundation, Selma, AL:  While visiting Selma, ISU students had the opportunity to work with the youth program and help with community clean-up and painting projects. Our students took part in Non-Violence Training and learned more about the significance of Selma, Alabama for Civil Rights Movement.

2012 Sites

  • Lexington, Kentucky:  Mission Immersion works very closely with a variety of agencies in the Lexington region; these agencies range their focus from children, youth, families, homelessness, and poverty, among others. The focus of this trip was on working with agencies who served individuals and families living in poverty.
  • Maryville, Tennessee:  Once Upon A Time in Appalachia's mission focuses on the Cherokee Nation, the environment, and rural Appalachia. Students participated in a variety of activities while in Maryville, some of which include trail maintenance and canning food.
  • Haysi, Virginia:  Working with the Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project, ISU students interacted extensively with residents of Haysi and created a billboard for the community.
  • Atlanta, Georgia:  While working with Refugee Family Services and the International School of Atlanta, our students were able to focus on the needs of children who are learning English as second language.

2011 Sites

The 2011 trip was our eighth year to send a group of students on an Alternative Spring Break trip. Each trip served a unique population in a distinctive part of the United States.

  • New Orleans, LA:  The Katrina’s Kids program provided opportunities for ISU volunteers to work with children who survived Hurricane Katrina and other children living in poverty.
  • Pensacola, Florida:  In collaboration with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the Environmental Protection Agency, and other environmental groups, the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration and Community Service Project provided opportunities for volunteers to serve in areas affected by the massive oil spill of 2010. Beach clean-up and wetland restoration were two of the projects in which ISU students participated.
  • Haysi, Virginia:  Working with the Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project, ISU students interacted extensively with residents of Haysi, painted areas in the town and participated in river clean-up activities.

2010 Sites

  • Kansas City, Missouri:  Working with Operation Breakthrough, Sycamores served children in poverty by facilitating educational projects.
  • Memphis, Tennessee:  ISU students worked with Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association (MIFA) by participating in projects that supported the independence of seniors, transformed families in crisis, and equipped urban teens for success.
  • Maryville, Tennessee:  Once Upon A Time in Appalachia's mission focuses on the Cherokee Nation, the environment, and rural Appalachia. Students participated in a variety of activities while in Maryville, some of which include trail maintenance and canning food.

2009 Sites

  •  Memphis, Tennessee:  ISU teamed up with the Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association (MIFA) to help facilitate programs addressing specific needs within the community, such as transitional housing for homeless families, nutrition, and job opportunities for teens.
  • Atlanta, Georgia:  While working with Refugee Family Services, our students were able to focus on the needs of at-risk women and children.

2008 Sites

  • Gulfport, Mississippi:  For the second year in a row, ISU students worked with children in an after-school program and assisted with English as a second language classes. Other students assisted with the recovery efforts from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

2006 and 2007 Sites

  • Gulfport, Mississippi:  Our students worked with children in an after-school program and assisted with English as a second language classes.
  • Gulfport and Biloxi, Mississippi:  ISU students worked with local agencies to assist communities devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Preparation for the trip included, learning more about the Gulf coast region, the damage caused by the storm, the relief work that had been done, and the type of recovery work that was still needed. Participants also worked one day in Enterprise, Alabama to assist with clean-up following a powerful tornado that had destroyed homes and taken lives just a week before ASB.
  • Elkhart, Indiana:  Hope Crisis Response Network is a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting communities who have been impacted by all types of disasters. The ISU team assisted with demolition, clean-up, new construction, and other activities help to rebuild the community.

2004 and 2005 Sites

  • Jackson, Mississippi:  Mission First, a large not-for-profit organization that works with a variety of social and philanthropic initiatives in and around the community, facilitated service projects for ISU students volunteering in the area.