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MSU alternative spring breaks rise in popularity

February 27, 2013
Photo by Infographic by Liam Zanyk McLean | The State News

While some MSU students will go on a tropical vacation during spring break, more than 200 students will spend the week volunteering in communities across the country as part of Alternative Spartan Break, or ASB.

ASB is an alternative spring break option for students to do community service work around the U.S. involving a particular social issue, such as HIV or hunger and homelessness.

This year, ASB filled up quickly and about 130 students were turned away, leading Nate Cradit, advisor for programs and student led initiatives in MSU’s Center for Service-Learning and Civic Engagement, to consider expanding the program even more next year.

“I actually just met with the ASB E-board for future planning to not have to turn away interested students,” Cradit said.

Michelle Chavdar, ASB program coordinator, said the 16 different student groups will attain about 35 service hours by the end of the week and bring what they learn back to MSU.

“One of our main goals is to educate ourselves on these important life issues and bring this information back to MSU to continue to help in any way,” Chavdar said. “Sometimes college kids can feel trapped within MSU, so ASB is a wonderful opportunity to get a wide perspective on life.”

While the students are on break from classes, they still are participating in activities in line with MSU and their education, Chavdar said.

“The mission statements of ASB and MSU are very similar in the sense that it is good to reflect on experiences and tie in education,” Chavdar said.

Economics senior Matt Hartman is going to be experiencing his first ASB trip to Pennsylvania, and said he couldn’t be more excited to go to work with The Capital Area Therapeutic Riding Association, or CATRA.

“This is an organization that gives horse riding therapy for people with disabilities,” Hartman said. “My friends involved with ASB said that CATRA would be a good fit for me since I have had experience with summer camps in the past.”

Having gone on a tropical vacation before ASB, Hartman said he feels he is going to like ASB more.

“Not everyone at MSU is a crazy partier,” Hartman said. “Having ASB is a good alternative for people to have a place to go over spring break and do good for a community instead of destruction.”

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