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Spartan students lend a hand to service projects across the country with Alternative Spartan Breaks.

For many college students, spring break is a time for sandy beaches and a rest from spring semester classes. But for a group of more than 200 Spartan undergraduates, grad students and faculty, the week offers the opportunity to hit the road, roll up their sleeves and get to work in communities across the United States. The students are members of MSU’s student-run service organization Alternative Spartan Breaks (ASB), part of the Center for Service-Learning and Civic Engagement.

With 18 trips during spring break and three trips during winter break, members of ASB participate in service that addresses a dozen social issues—from urban farming to mental health to hunger and homelessness.

The students are involved in the entire process, from planning and coordinating the trips to reorientation when students return to East Lansing. And alternative breaks can be a springboard for continued service.

“A big thing we want to instill in students is that when you come back, the service doesn’t stop,” says Christine LaRouere, a journalism junior and ASB fundraising and outreach chair. “We’re hoping they can make time for service regularly.”

Follow along from March 9 to 13 as the students document their experiences as they partner with local organizations and impact lives. This is how Spartans spring break.