“Think local, serve local” is the motto of the Alternative Break Experience Staycation, a new immersive program available through East Carolina University. A “staycation” is an alternative way to take a vacation. Instead of going to a different location, students stay in their own communities and provide valuable services.
Staycations and similar Alternative Break Experiences (or ABEs) are catching on at college campuses around the country. Those in need don’t get a break just because a local college is on spring break. ABEs enable students to give back to a community in need through service, and also enable a college campus to deepen its ties with the local community.
Staycation ideas can range from engaging in immersive volunteering for an entire break to simply agreeing to fund local organizations during a traditional vacation. There are always non-profits in every college town in need of services. Instead of spending thousands of dollars on trips to Cancun and other spring break destinations, staycations save students money while allowing them to make a real contribution to their local community.
As part of the ECU ABE, students stayed in the apartments above the Greenville Community Shelter when many college students left to venture home. The students engaged in service ranging from working with local youth centers, Campus Kitchen partners, and local shelters.