"Never doubt that a small
group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world.
Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
- Margaret Mead
Alternative Spring Break (ASB) is a program sponsored by University Ministry
that seeks to educate student volunteers about specific social issues by immersing
them in diverse cultures and environments across the country to engage in
service-oriented learning. Participating offers a chance to put into action
the charisms of the Religious Sisters of Mercy and the Society of Jesus, the
sponsors of this University.
In the words of Catherine McAuley, founder of the Sisters of Mercy, it's
the challenge of prayer and action, "...an ardent desire to be united
to God and to serve the poor." It's an opportunity for students at the
University to see the world in a different light, while offering service to
those less fortunate. For one week, traditional and non-traditional students
along with aColleague Service Partner (Typically UDM Faculty), and give up
vacation time to travel to another part of the country to help address some
needs of those living in poverty. It's a chance for direct service, combined
with reflection on how our perspectives and hearts change and are touched
by others. In this they live out the Jesuit goal of education of being "men
and women for others."
The participants travel together and live in a community atmosphere, sharing
chores, meals and reflection opportunities. As everyone has a different persepctive,
studnts learn to respect the dignity of each other and of those they serve
Over the past 13 years, students have helped in many parts of the USA: Michigan,
Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky,
New York, Ohio, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Missouri, and even South