Alternative Breaks’ Impact

Mizzou Alternative Breaks (MAB) provides students with the opportunity to experience another part of the United States while immersed in a week of service. Each year MAB participants complete a survey about their experience. Alternative Break programs in general lead to positive gains on students such as higher voting rates and a greater desire to serve upon returning from their experiences (Raman, 2001). These programs not only have an impact on the students, but also on the community. In 2002 Dr. Pushkala Raman found that 100% of agencies that hosted alternative break students would host them again and that the agencies reported benefits from the work being done.

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Alternative break participants serving with a local Habitat chapter

We ask each student to complete a survey on their experiences after the trip and below are a few findings from 2016-2017.

Did they learn anything:

98% of students say they learned something from their interactions with the community
91% of students say their allowed them to experience something completely new
91% of students say their trip caused them to re-examine their beliefs about root causes of social issues

Connecting the experience to academics:

59% say their trip allowed them to see real-world application of their major

Understanding of the world around them:

91% of students came to a greater understanding of the region where their trip took place
90% of students came to a greater understanding of the social issue being addressed by their trip

Effects of the trip:

94% say their trip has influences their desire to participate in service locally
85% say their trip has influenced their desire to participate in advocacy locally
40% say their trip made them think about participating in a National Service Program after they graduate (Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, etc.)