For the fourth year, a group of Emerson students and advisors will head to El Paso, Texas, in a little over a week for Alternative Spring Break, where they'll immerse themselves in the country's largest border community (El Paso/Juárez, Mexico) and learn about immigration and social justice issues.
During the course of the week, students will work on a variety of projects, including gardening and farming, light construction, meal preparation, tutoring, and cleaning, and meet with community leaders who will talk to them about how immigration policy and practice shapes lives. The trip is sponsored by the Office of Academic Engagement and Community Action, which has been hosting an Alternative Spring Break (ASB) program for 14 years.
Speaking in a fundraising video, Laura Londoño '18, a veteran of ASB, said the program is a great way for students to learn about issues that may not affect them directly.
“It's a great experience to be able to hear [immigrants'] story and see the resilience they have, see the power of their words,” Londoño said. “I think that's the whole point of ASB; it's more than just thinking about yourself.”
To help meet a $7,500 fundraising goal, ASB is holding a silent auction Thursday, February 23, 12:30-4:30 pm, in the Walker Building's Common Ground. Participants will be able to bid on locally produced art, jewelry, decor, food, and gifts, to support the program. Gifts can also be made online.
Participants in the El Paso program spend a year planning their itineraries, learning about the kind of social justice issues — education, environmental and food justice, economic development, human rights — that face communities, and raising money.
Students staying closer to Emerson during the break are welcome to participate in a local ASB, where they can volunteer in Boston neighborhoods and on campus on a variety of social justice/immigration issues.