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With locations all across the United States, Alternate Spring Break brings students together to build homes for the needy. | Courtesy of Alternate Spring Break

Credit: Michael W Patch

Alternate Spring Break participants plan to break out of the Penn bubble and step into a different United States community for a week filled with service and reflection.

Alternate Spring Break is running seven trips this March, with four of the trips running through Habitat for Humanity in order to focus on helping to construct homes in Lynchburg, Va., Charlotte, N.C., Alamosa, Colo. and High Point, N.C. The other three service excursions are called Breakaway trips and will be taking place in Austin, Texas, Atlanta and Charlottesville, Va.

Breakaway trips are more “spontaneous” than the Habitat for Humanity trips because they usually depend on the site, and they allow participants to interact with organizations that cater towards that location’s specific needs, College sophomore Nitay Caspi said.

Caspi will be a site leader for the Breakaway trip in Austin, Texas, and his group will be working closely with the Workers Defense Project to aid immigrant workers in Texas. Caspi went on the New Orleans trip during last year’s Spring Break and is looking forward to creating another connection between the Penn and Austin community, he said.

College sophomore Evangeline Giannopoulos will serve as a site leader for the Habitat for Humanity trip in Alamosa. Last year, Giannopoulos went on ASB’s Habitat for Humanity trip in New Orleans, and she hopes to foster a good environment this year so that her group can have a great experience, she said.

In regards to what her group will be doing in Colorado, Giannopoulos added, “the city of Alamosa specifically has a lot of poverty and a really big issue with affordable housing.”

Giannopoulos is also the Outreach Coordinator for ASB’s board, and her Spring Break team will likely work together with an organization to provide cost-effective solar heating panels.

Going on her first ASB trip, College freshman Raisa Shah will be a part of the fourteen person team that will be making their mark in Charlotte.

“I know I’m not going out there and saving the world in one week. I’m doing my part and what I can in a week,” Shah said.

In all of the ASB excursions, participants have the desire to integrate within their community of volunteers.

“These trips bring together such an interesting mix of people that you normally wouldn’t meet, and you’re put together for a week and become really close, and that’s what makes the trip really special,” Caspi said.

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