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AB Lite:

Weekend-Long. COVID-Conscious. Completely Free. 

Apply FOR YOUR AB LITE EXPERIENCE


Applications due Friday, August 28.

 

In the interest of campus and community safety, University of Utah administrators have eliminated fall break from the Fall 2020 academic schedule. Classes will continue uninterrupted (though possibly in a modified format) during the week previously identified as fall break. You can read the full announcement regarding the decision and access more information for the Fall 2020 semester here.

No Fall Break ≠ No Alt Breaks

We've Always Got "A" Plan "B"

Get it? AB?
Yeahwe hated that, too.

FOR ONE SEMESTER, AND ONE SEMESTER ONLY (unless we do it again): the student and staff leaders of the Alternative Breaks program are coordinating a set of fully local, weekend-long AB experiences for students to share work and stories with community partners right here in the Salt Lake Valley. These "AB Lite" experiences will look just like a "normal" Alternative Break in most ways:

  • we'll travel together, though the roadtrip will be much shorter;
  • we'll lodge together, though there'll be fewer of us and we'll try to avoid sharing beds to keep folx safe and comfortable;
  • we'll partner with organizations and individuals doing rad work that we can support while learning about topics of social and environmental justice; 
  • we'll dive into the education, reflection, and community-building that make an AB experience so impactful

Of course, we've had to make some changes to our usual work to make sure students can feel safe participating in Alt Breaks during the ongoing coronavirus outbreak and to respond to scheduling changes from the U of U. Each of our AB Lite experiences will be:

Weekend-Long

Working within the University's new academic schedule for the Fall 2020 semester, we'll be coordinating all of our AB Lite experiences over one weekend:
Friday, Oct. 2 - Sunday, Oct. 4.

  • There will be mandatory meetings prior to and following the weekend experience in order to prepare participants for their work with our communities and more thoroughly address the complexity of these topics.

Of course, this means that we'll be staying primarily in the Salt Lake Valley for each of our AB Lite experiences, in order to minimize our driving times and maximizing the time we spend engaging with our topic and community partners.

COVID-Conscious

The health and wellness of our teams and the larger community will continue to be a priority for the Bennion Center during these AB Lite experiences.
Some health measures will include:

  • Reducing group sizes to 6 participants on each team
  • Reserving lodging that allows participants to feel safe and comfortable with sleeping arrangements, meal sharing, etc.
  • Working with our community partners to coordinate projects that allow for physical distancing, and possibly working primarily outdoors

We will continue to follow University of Utah health and safety guidelines, which can be found here.

Completely Free

In order to eliminate some of the financial barriers to accessing AB experiences, our Fall 2020 AB Lite experiences will be completely free to students. No down payments. No participation fees. Just registration.

All AB-related expenses during the experience (meals, lodging, transportation, activity fees, etc.) will be covered by the Bennion Center.

While we know that students might still need to request time off from work over that weekend, we hope that the elimination of out-of-pocket expenses can provide all students the opportunity to participate in AB if they haven't been able to before.

For questions related to financing the AB experience, please contact J Swanger.

Check Out The Topics We're Addressing This Fall

Fall 2020 AB Lite Experiences

About this Experience

On this AB experience, participants will work in power with local non-profits to learn about root causes of homelessness, systemic barriers to overcoming it, and best practices in homeless services. The experience will focus on humanizing folx living houseless and changing narratives of violence and drugs to those of strength and resilience. Participants on this experience will be learning from organizations advocating for housing first practices and social justice for homeless individuals.

Cost: FREE. The Bennion Center will cover all AB-related expenses for participants including lodging, transportation, food, and volunteer experiences. (Participants will be responsible for individual purchases such as souvenirs, extra snacks, etc.)

Dates: October 2 - 4, 2020. Expect an afternoon departure on Friday and an evening return on Sunday.

About this Experience

Participants will explore the underlying causes and effects of hunger—including, but not limited to, poverty, social disparities in nutrition, access to food, and environmentalism—through a food justice perspective. Addressing various concepts including environmental impact, policy initiatives, and food production, participants will recognize and analyze their own ideas regarding hunger. Participants will be challenged to explore the difference between hunger and food justice and how each of these issues relates to themselves, groups in our communities, and our environment.

Cost: FREE. The Bennion Center will cover all AB-related expenses for participants including lodging, transportation, food, and volunteer experiences. (Participants will be responsible for individual purchases such as souvenirs, extra snacks, etc.)

Dates: October 2 - 4, 2020. Expect an afternoon departure on Friday and an evening return on Sunday.

This trip is specifically for first-generation college students. If you are not the first in your family to attend college, please apply for another one of our AB Lite experiences in this list.

About this Experience

Being a first-generation student often means you may feel displaced or out of alignment. Wanting to internalize the culture you were raised with while embracing a new culture brought to you through your college experience can be challenging and overwhelming. During this experience we will be exploring the depth of what makes you unique and how you can learn from your past experiences to propel you toward a future of your own imagination. Doing this self-exploration in a natural environment will add additional lessons of resilience and determination. We are all skillful and talented in our unique ways, and together we will explore our believed differences and find deep connection with community support. After this break, I want all participants to feel they have a voice to demand their ultimate desires out of life. You have all the power to create the life of your dreams while experiencing genuine happiness in being true to yourself.

Cost: FREE. The Bennion Center will cover all AB-related expenses for participants including lodging, transportation, food, and volunteer experiences. (Participants will be responsible for individual purchases such as souvenirs, extra snacks, etc.)

Dates: October 2 - 4, 2020. Expect an afternoon departure on Friday and an evening return on Sunday.

About this Experience

On this Alt Break experience, participants will be exploring the salient intricacies of immigration in relation to poverty, health and policy from a community-based perspective. This experience will focus on the healthcare and educational access that immigrants and impoverished populations receive due to political climate, socioeconomic status, and oppression. Participants will be learning from and serving community centers focused on the promotion of social justice for individuals of varying legal status.

Cost: FREE. The Bennion Center will cover all AB-related expenses for participants including lodging, transportation, food, and volunteer experiences. (Participants will be responsible for individual purchases such as souvenirs, extra snacks, etc.)

Dates: October 2 - 4, 2020. Expect an afternoon departure on Friday and an evening return on Sunday.

About this Experience

During this experience, participants will explore the various factors that result in a disturbing trend of children being funneled from public schools into what some refer to as the "criminal justice" system (prisons and juvenile detention centers). Participants will learn how we as a society can help connect youth with supportive resources that can help them succeed in school and address the marginalizations they are facing. This experience includes volunteering with different organizations that are designed to help dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline, as well as activities for education and reflection on this topic. Finally, students will learn about ways that they can continue working to help support students after this Alternative Break experience.

Cost: FREE. The Bennion Center will cover all AB-related expenses for participants including lodging, transportation, food, and volunteer experiences. (Participants will be responsible for individual purchases such as souvenirs, extra snacks, etc.)

Dates: October 2 - 4, 2020. Expect an afternoon departure on Friday and an evening return on Sunday.

About this Experience

This experience presents an immersive, educational, and potentially labor intensive chance to interact with one’s self and the community, focusing on sustainability in urban spaces and the roll of the individual in environmental justice. Participants will explore what one can do in one’s own home by working and learning about recycling, upcycling, and community gardening. Additionally, we'll learn about our communities' urban environmentalism initiatives within the realms of government and business. Participants will be serving alongside community organizations in the Salt Lake Valley and learning best practices of environmental stewardship in cities and how this topic is inseparable from other aspects of social justice. 

Cost: FREE. The Bennion Center will cover all AB-related expenses for participants including lodging, transportation, food, and volunteer experiences. (Participants will be responsible for individual purchases such as souvenirs, extra snacks, etc.)

Dates: October 2 - 4, 2020. Expect an afternoon departure on Friday and an evening return on Sunday.

About this Experience

This experience will examine wildlife conservation and the different issues that contribute to discussions surrounding land use. Participants will learn about the intersection of wildlife and habitat protection efforts and land management practices in the Utah Valley. To foster a deeper understanding of human impacts on wildlife (and vice versa), participants will be working with community partners focused on protecting the environment and species native to this area.

Cost: FREE. The Bennion Center will cover all AB-related expenses for participants including lodging, transportation, food, and volunteer experiences. (Participants will be responsible for individual purchases such as souvenirs, extra snacks, etc.)

Dates: October 2 - 4, 2020. Expect an afternoon departure on Friday and an evening return on Sunday.

 

Questions about a specific experience? Visit our Meet the Team page to contact the Site Leader directly!



Participant Information

NEW THIS YEAR: 

  • The Alternative Breaks selection process is application-based only; not first-come, first-served. Applicants will be selected by a committee based on their preferences in regards to AB experiences as well as the thought and feeling put into the short essay responses.
  • The deadline to apply for Fall 2020 AB Lite experiences is Friday, August 28, 2020 at 11:59pm. However, we encourage interested students to apply before the deadline as applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis to ensure a quick turnaround in selections when applications close. That said, the submission time of your application will not affect your placement on an AB Lite experience.
  • Applicants will be notified of whether or not they have been placed on an AB Lite experience by Tuesday, September 1.

These are the expectations to which the Bennion Center holds all of its Alternative Breaks participants. Failure to adhere the Alternative Breaks and University of Utah policies will result in expulsion from the program.

All participants are expected to:

  • Attend a Justice Workshop in preparation for their AB experience (approximately 1.5 hours)
  • Attend all pre-departure meetings and other trip activities and trainings (approximately 8 hours)
  • Provide policy information for any personal medical insurance they will have for the duration of their AB Lite experience in the event of a medical emergency. Medical insurance is not a requirement to participate in Alternative Breaks; a secondary group insurance is purchased to cover those who do not have medical insurance.
  • Be financially responsible for any incidental personal expenses incurred during the experience (i.e., souvenirs)
  • Participate in all AB activities including community engagement projects, team-building exercises, and other activities as determined by group leaders
  • Abide by all University of Utah policies and procedures as they apply to the Alternative Breaks experience
  • Remain alcohol- and drug-free from date of departure until time of return
  • Participate in a post-break Reorientation event on October 20, 2020 from 4:00-6:00 pm (location/platform TBA).

 

Please contact J Swanger with any questions. 

Last Updated: 7/15/20