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Student Leadership and Service (SLS)

Alternative Spring Break

Current Trips

Location: Yakama Nation & Toppenish, WA
Topic Area: Environmental Justice
Potential Community Partners: Heritage University, KDNA, Yakama Nation
Trip Leaders: Lani Felicitas, Samantha Hernandez

Location: Atlanta, GA
Topic Area: Racial Justice Then & Now
Potential Community Partners: Project South, Freedom University, King Center, Spelman College
Trip Leaders: Arpana Nautiyal, Hannah Creasey

Past Trips


Portland, OR

Tucson, AZ


Portland, OR

Atlanta, GA

Tucson, AZ




Tucson, AZ

For more information, please click here.



El Salvador

Pine Ridge Indian Reservation

City of 10,000 Buddhas

Tucson, AZ


Topic Area: Environmental and Social Sustainability
Location: Turks and Caicos Islands
Community Partner(s): School of Field Studies
Grantees: Eva Ramey ’15 & Ian Blair ’15
Staff/Faculty Adviser: Natasha Begin, Area Director

The 2013 Alternative Spring Break trip to Turks and Caicos Islands is a hands-on and service oriented approach to observing the effects of globalization on an island community.

Visit the Fundraising Page for more information on this year’s Alternative Spring Break Program and explore ways you can support transformative learning experiences for students and communities.


Sobre el Muro: Transcending Cultural Barriers through Artwork at the Wifredo Lam Center

Topic Area: Community-based art
Location: Havana, Cuba
Community Partner(s): Wifredo Lam Center
Grantees: Sam Ashman ’12 & Drew Lenihan ’12
Staff/Faculty Adviser: Elliott Young, Associate Professor of History & Director of Ethnic Studies

The 2012 Alternative Spring Break Trip to Havana, Cuba was based at the Wifredo Lam Center, and the Instituto Superior de Arte. In May 2012, the Lam Center hosted the 11th Havana Biennial which has as its theme, artistic practices and social imaginaries. One project in particular, “Detras del Muro” (Behind the Wall), is a group exposition exploring, through the medium of public art, the tension between the physical proximity and the discursive detachment between Cuba and the U.S. The idea of an exchange of ideas and culture between the two countries is central to the project.

On site, participants conducted and documented interviews with artists, curators, and museum directors involved in the project. In doing so, participants had the opportunity to observe artistic responses to social issues across the world. In addition, this exchange provided a venue for dialogue across cultures.

At the Instituto Superior de Arte, participants formed pairs with art students who too will have work in the Biennial. Each pair worked collaboratively to produce pieces that will be on display in an exhibition at Lewis & Clark’s Hoffman gallery in June. The production of these collaborative pieces serves as yet another catalyst for cross-cultural discourse. 

Rebuilding Community and Understanding Race in New Orleans

Topic Area: Race
Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
Community Partner(s): Various
Grantees: Alison Dubchansky ’12 & Sarra Wynn ’14
Staff/Faculty Adviser: John Stewart, Area Director

The 2012 Alternative Spring Break Trip to New Orleans, Louisiana explored the social injustices, inequalities, and issues associated with rebuilding communities, with a focus on racial identity. Stemmed from topics addressed in the 2011 Multicultural Symposium, this trip provided participants the opportunity to investigate the intersectionality between building stronger communities and racial tensions.

Although six years have passed and the media lens has shifted away from New Orleans, rebuilding the city is still a serious concern. While structural rebuilding happens in the form of house construction, it is also important to examine how community regrows by developing collaborative initiatives to empower community members and bring support on a holistic level. Various volunteer projects tied to rebuilding the community contributed to this effort and provided a platform to address racial tensions as it pertains to the community at Lewis & Clark and Portland.

The group perused these goals by living in volunteer housing in the Lower 9th Ward and working with an established community center in the area. With the intent of gaining a broader perspective on the city, we incorporated visits to local institutions of higher education that spoke to race relations on their campuses. Conversations with other local organizations provided participants with alternative perspectives on rebuilding efforts and racial inequalities. 

Broadening Perspectives: Community Engagement in Post-War El Salvador

Topic Area: History and repercussions of civil war
Location: Guarjila, El Salvador
Community Partner(s): Tamarindo Foundation
Grantees: Dale Forrister ’14 & Mia McLaughlin ’14
Staff/Faculty Adviser: Cecilia Benenati, Spanish language instructor

The 2012 Alternative Spring Break trip to Guarjila, El Salvador focused on the long-term effects of the Salvadorian civil war through the lens of rural Salvadorians.  Participants explored the role the United States played in the war and how it has shaped present day El Salvador. This cross cultural exchange examined social justice through the lens of history and those who are still living the consequences.

The group was hosted by the Tamarindo community in northern El Salvador. Participants worked hand in hand with the Tamarindos to support their community goals of empowering youth, creating organization through leadership and education, constructing a strong community, and building responsible citizens through youth engagement. In this exchange, both communities were exposed to new perspectives and consequently, learned from critical examination of the themes of social justice and inequality