What Happened in Atlanta...

Alternative Service Break Trip Leaves Lasting Impression
The Women’s Center and Multicultural Student Affairs, both units of the Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity, have partnered with the Center for Student Leadership, Ethics and Public Service since the fall of 2011 to offer an Alternative Fall Break focused on diversity and equity. Through this experience, students develop diverse service teams committed to exploring and advocating for social justice issues, reflect on their privileges and begin to use these to break down the systems that afford unearned privilege in our society, and experience cultural immersion through service projects with diverse individuals and communities. In addition, the fall ASB trip to Atlanta has an intentional focus on community-based organizations that emphasize intersectionalities of identity, including race, ethnicity, age, gender and socio-economic status.

Atlanta ASB trip participants

Here is what some of this year’s participants had to say about the 3-day October trip:

“I went to Atlanta. I wish, in saying that, I could effectively express the plethora of emotions, actions, jokes, fears, smiles, and moments I shared over this short adventure. I took on Atlanta with thirteen people I knew little about. We tackled almost every facet of human rights and questioned our lives and privileges as a result. The museums brought history, the conferences brought information, the activities brought action, and the sum of it all brought deep reflection. We were able to see service and civil duty in the eyes of others and through our own lenses of identification as well. Most importantly, we enjoyed each other while on this adventure.… Ultimately, we all followed our life paths to this intersectional experience from which we must now continue to go our own ways and take on the future of social justice.… I hope to follow up with more information about positive philanthropy as a college student, and the scope of some of the organizations I learned about on the trip. In the positions I hold and communities I am a part of on campus, I can pressure the consideration of tough issues.” –Mitchell Moravec, second year student

"Even before we got to Atlanta, we were learning about social justice. We went to the Civil Rights museum in Greensboro where I finally learned about Emmett Till’s story and a fun fact that Rosa Park’s bus experience was actually planned. Then we drove down to Atlanta where we volunteered at the Boys and Girls Club, and the Festival of Lights. Both experiences had different but long-lasting effects on everyone in the group. Last but not least, we went to the Civil Rights Museum in Atlanta, which was my favorite part of the trip because it was set up like no civil rights museum I’ve ever seen. It was interactive, first of all, and it emphasized certain parts of civil rights history that at other museums would just be a quick mention.… This trip made a difference to me in the sense that it helped me meet other people who had similar social justice passions. The strongest feeling I got from the trip was a sense of activism. I had an urgency of doing something for my community and the communities around the country.” –Meron Habtemarium, second year student

“I was confronted by countless deep conversations in our group that shed light on difference struggles that I knew nothing about. I learned about the different ideologies that women were brought up to learn and abide by, and how some women fight these different ideas and stereotypes that were given to them. As a male, I didn’t really get to see the chains on self image, on grace, and fear itself that women have to go through as they were brought up within their households and outside of them. To not just understand feminism, but to have an emotion within myself to stand up for it is one of the greatest feelings that I failed to feel before this trip. I am forever indebted to whoever had the mere idea of such a trip and I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to take a part within it.… I particularly loved my time with the children with the Boys and Girls Club. I was truly moved by the impact that I had on the children in such a short amount of time. This trip was truly one of the greatest experiences I had in my life… and it left me with a craving for more knowledge on diversity and gender issues.” –Dajon Lacey, first year student