ASB 2017 – 24 students were selected to go on Behrend’s Alternative Spring Break trip. For those of you who don’t know what that is, allow me to explain.
Every year, for the past several years Behrend offers an Alternative Spring Break Trip. ASB is designed to be a week full of service in another area of the country. This year the trip was to San Francisco and the Bay Area in California. When I applied and was selected I didn’t know much about the trip let alone the other students going on the trip. I decided that life is nothing without a little adventure and went for it. I have to say it was the most incredible experience of I’ve ever had. The students and advisors that went on the trip were some of the most inspiring, kind, and selfless people I have ever met. Aside from the people on the trip, the people I met along the way taught me life lessons I will never forget.
We did an array of eco-restoration projects and service to the homeless community. We worked at urban gardens and recreation areas getting rid of invasive species. The group split up and we were able to make such a larger impact. The group I was a part of went to St. Vincent De Paul, a community center that acted as a soup kitchen by day and a shelter by night. My group also went to a food pantry and packaged food. The other half of the group volunteered at the local Boys and Girls Club and St. Mary’s, a senior citizen center. Both groups worked at Planting Justice, a unique program dedicated to improving the food situation in Oakland. We were able to make our mark with every unique service opportunity. Even with all of the hard work we put in, there was plenty of time for leisure. We were able to see the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Pier 39, and eat as a group at some local eateries.
Overall, the service is what stuck with me the most. All of the people involved in the service projects felt so passionate about what they were doing, and the people we were helping were so grateful. Everyone on the trip had so much knowledge to share with us. It’s not very often in life that you can say your spring break inspired you to be a better person, but mine certainly did. As a group, we were able to see the progress and difference we were making in the community. Going on the trip knowing very few people and very little about what we were going to be doing, it is incredible that I can say I learned so much and left with 27 new friends. If the opportunity ever presents itself to go on a trip like ASB, to do service in the community, or to go on an adventure and make new friends, I would!
– Alex Sienerth, Class of 2020