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Northwest students in the University's Alternative Spring Break organization traveled this spring to Jacksonville, Florida, to assist with a variety of service projects in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. (Submitted photos)

Northwest students in the University's Alternative Spring Break organization traveled this spring to Jacksonville, Florida, to assist with a variety of service projects in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. (Submitted photos)

May 24, 2018

Students venture to Florida to help hurricane victims during Alternative Spring Break

By Grace Niemeyer, communication assistant


Students demolished and rebuilt a boardwalk during this year's Alternative Spring Break. Students also repaired a jetty and built a playground at the Arlington Community Academy.

Students demolished and rebuilt a boardwalk during this year's Alternative Spring Break. Students also repaired a jetty and built a playground at the Arlington Community Academy.

Tilena Conover and Alternative Spring Break members served meals at Clara White Soup Kitchen.

Tilena Conover and Alternative Spring Break members served meals at Clara White Soup Kitchen.

Eighteen Northwest Missouri State University students recently traveled to Jacksonville, Florida, where they assisted with cleanup efforts resulting from last fall’s Hurricane Irma as part of the Alternative Spring Break organization’s annual service project.

Alternative Spring Break, or ASB, is an immersion program that places teams of college students in diverse cultures and communities to engage in community service and experiential learning during spring break. The group also explores issues of social justice, economic disparity and community outreach while developing critical thinking and leadership skills.

Northwest’s ASB students spent March 19-23 in the vicinity of Jacksonville, Florida, working with Community Collaborations International to assist with the hurricane relief.

The group spent their first day cleaning beaches, sand dunes and the surf line. Throughout the week, students served at the Clara White Soup Kitchen and cleaned apartments that were damaged by fire. They demolished and rebuilt a boardwalk as well as a jetty. On their final day they partnered with the Boys and Girls Club, Kaboom and Target to build a playground at the Arlington Community Academy.

Many of the students said they decided to join ASB after learning about the organization from friends who participated in previous service projects.

“I feel like I have gained a new appreciation for people who work tirelessly every day to help others,” said Alex Parkins, a senior financial services major from Liberty, Missouri. “I met a lot of people who dedicated their lives to service and I think these people don't get the credit they deserve. At the same time, I think that service brings you a joy that you can only understand if you do it.”

ASB selected its destination with a Twitter Poll, allowing students to vote on service projects resulting from damage caused by Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Harvey and wildfires in California.

“This trip taught me so many new things, from working with tools to how to handle stressful situations when conditions are not at their best,” said Jessica Bloustine, a sophomore general chemistry major from Harrisonville, Missouri. “ASB has really opened my eyes to new opportunities and new experiences. I am so excited to do it again in the future.”

Founded at Northwest in 2006, ASB annually gives students the opportunity to participate in a week of service-learning and volunteering within a different environment than their own. In recent years, Northwest students have traveled with ASB to Washington, D.C.; Puerto Rico; New Orleans; Niceville, Florida; and the Dominican Republic.


For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468