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UDM Alternative Spring Break Celebrates 25 Years

May 08, 2014

For 25 years, University of Detroit Mercy students have learned valuable life lessons by performing hands-on community outreach around the country and beyond as part of the University’s Alternative Spring Break program.


While many schools offer such opportunities today, this was not the case in 1989, when Beth Ann Finster, S.S.J., assistant director of University Ministry, organized UDM’s first trip, to a Jesuit mission on a South Dakota Indian reservation. In fact, UDM was among the first Jesuit schools in the nation to conduct a formal Alternative Spring Break program.

Because the trip to South Dakota was such a success, the University decided to continue its outreach. In total, about 400 students have participated in Alternative Spring Break, which has grown far beyond spring break and includes about eight trips throughout the year.

“These are life-changing experiences for our students,” says UDM President Antoine M. Garibaldi. “Their exposure to individuals who live in challenging circumstances will influence how they contribute to the communities in which they will live and work.”

On May 17, the University will recognize the program’s 25th anniversary with a morning service project, followed by a cookout at UDM’s Lansing Reilly Hall on the McNichols campus. All past UDM Alternative Spring Break participants are welcome. For additional information, contact Sr. Beth at

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