Alternative Breaks

The Center for Social Concern runs several alternative break trips each year during Intersession and Spring Break. The Alternative Breaks program is designed to give Hopkins students the opportunity to connect with Baltimore in a unique and meaningful way. Each trip focuses on a specific social issue and includes direct service projects with community organizations as well as various educational sessions. During the sessions, there may be guest speakers discussions, documentary screenings, or other meaningful experiences.

Why Should I Participate?

We realize that your college life consists of studying, studying, and studying some more! Naturally, you need some down time to catch up on sleep, life, and relaxation. But, why not spend your break meeting some new friends in a unique, rewarding, and meaningful way? We promise, it won’t be stressful and if anything, it may actually be relaxing and fun! Did we mention that this is also an affordable option? Lodging, transportation, and meals are included in the program fee for each trip and substantial need-based financial aid is available.

Who Leads the Trips?

Each Alternative Break trip is led by two Student Co-Leaders and a faculty or staff Learning Partner who work together to plan the trips and facilitate the experience. The student leaders are supervised and trained by Caroline Ouwerkerk, Assistant Director at the Center of Social Concern.

For 2016-2017, Caroline Lupetini, is the Intern who worked closely with the Alternative Breaks student leaders, Learning Partners, and staff to ensure that each trip is impactful and every participant has an enjoyable experience! Learn more about Caroline below.

Caroline Lupetini

Lupetini 170x130Caroline Lupetini is a second-year International Studies/Political Science double major from Chicago, IL. She is involved with Model UN, the Student Admissions Advisory Board, the International Studies Leadership Committee, and her sorority, Pi Beta Phi. She also served as one of the facilitators on the HopkinsCORPS Pre-Orientation program. Caroline is looking forward to meeting and working with the dedicated leaders to make the 2017 trips the best yet!

 

How to Apply

Alternative Break trips are highly competitive and interested students must submit the appropriate application prior to the trip deadline. For more information about each Alternative Breaks trip, view the important information, dates, and fees below.

The fee for each Alternative Break trip covers all activities, lodging, and food for the week. A significant amount of need-based financial aid is available and applying for financial aid will have no bearing on your application to the program. Students interested in financial aid should indicate it on your application.

The application for the Spring Alternative Weekend trip is now open. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Apply Now

Need more information? Email jhualternativebreaks@gmail.com with any questions.

Alternative Breaks Trips

There are eight different trips offered throughout the year: three credit-bearing trips during Intersession; three week-long trips during Spring Break; and two weekend trips in the spring. More information about each trip is below.

This program is a wonderful, must have have experience! It will challenge your view on social justice, introduce you to really wonderful friends, and ignite a desire to fight for social justice in the community. -Intersession, Urban Education Participant

Intersession Trips: January 21-27, 2017 (earn 2 credits)

Trip fee: $125 (includes activities, lodging, and food for the week)

A significant amount of need-based financial aid is available and applying for financial aid will have no bearing on your application to the program. Students interested in financial aid should indicate it on your application.

Important Dates

Date Event
Monday, October 10, 2016 Intersession Application Opens
Friday, November 4, 2016 Intersession Application Deadline
Monday, November 14, 2016 Accepted Applicants are notified
Thursday, November 17, 2016 Participants confirm trip placement
Friday, December 2, 2016 Paperwork due to the Center for Social Concern
Monday, December 5, 2016 Intersession kick-off
Tuesday, December 6, 2016 SIS registration for Intersession courses
Saturday, January 21, 2017 Program start date
Friday, January 27, 2017 Program end date

HIV and AIDS in Baltimore

The HIV/AIDS program explores Baltimore’s healthcare infrastructure and the challenges facing diagnosed and vulnerable Baltimoreans. Students will participate in classroom sessions as well as service learning projects in greater Baltimore with local agencies. Students will earn 2 credits for completing this trip. Naadiya Hutchinson and Vijay Ramasamy are the Alternative Break student leaders for this intersession trip. Read more about them below.

Naadiya Hutchinson

photo of Naadiya HutchinsonNaadiya Hutchinson is a second year Public Health and Sociology Major with a minor in Africana Studies, originally from Orlando, Florida. She is involved in the Black Student Union, the Sexual Assault Resource Unit, volunteer at Monument Quilt, after school teacher at Amazing Grace, soccer coach for Charles Village and co-CEO for Charisma’s Crayons. She is looking forward to sharing her passion for reproductive and sexual rights as the co-leader of the HIV/AIDS and STD’s in Baltimore Intersession trip.

Vijay Ramasamy

Ramasamy 170x130Vijay Ramasamy is a sophomore Public Health major originally from Overland Park, Kansas. He works with Baltimore Urban Debate League as a volunteer and coach, serves on the board of the Hindu Students’ Council, and edits research articles for the Public Health Undergraduate Research Journal, Epidemic Proportions. Last year, he developed health policy for a Baltimore mayoral campaign and worked for Evergreen Health, an insurance and primary care co-operative in Maryland. As the co-leader of the HIV and AIDS Alternative Break trip, he hopes to highlight the history of the disease and show how passionate, tireless advocates helped fight for those marginalized and denied care. He is also looking forward to helping students learn more about health equity and the incredible public health interventions taking place right here in Baltimore.

Immigrant and Refugee Rights

Have you been gripped by the plight of displaced Syrians? Concerned about unaccompanied refugee minors from Central America? Have your own experience of migration? Join the Johns Hopkins University Center for Social Concern for an Alternative Breaks program about refugee communities. This alternative break will focus on refugees, immigrants, asylum-seekers and other vulnerable migratory populations. Particular focus given to refugee communities in the United States, especially Baltimore. We will mix classroom instruction about the basics of the modern refugee regime with hands-on experiences at various local organizations around Baltimore that serve refugee populations. The experience also includes a “public policy day” in Washington, DC where we will meet with national refugee and immigrant organizations and congressional offices. Students will earn 2 credits for completing this trip. Christina Ambrosino and Tarah Fitzgerald are the Alternative Break student leaders for this intersession trip. Read more about them below.

Christina Ambrosino

picture of Christina AmbrosinoChristina Ambrosino is a sophomore Public Health major from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (go Steelers!). At Hopkins, she is involved in Jail Tutorial, Habitat for Humanity, and Refugee Youth Project. With her interest in social policy, she’s excited to make the most out of co-leading the Immigrant and Refugee Rights trip, including the “public policy day” in DC!

Tarah Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald 170x130Tarah Fitzgerald is a third-year Public Health major, born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. She is the Service Vice President of Alpha Phi Omega and spends her free time playing guitar, shooting film photography, and training in Muay Thai. She is very excited to share her passion for service and community engagement as the co-leader of the Immigrant and Refugee Rights Intersession trip!

Urban Education

The Urban Education program explores Baltimore’s education infrastructure and the challenges of educating young Baltimoreans. Students will participate in classroom sessions as well as service learning projects in greater Baltimore with local agencies. There is also a DC policy field trip to engage these issues from a national perspective. This course is unique because it exposes you to local, national and international educational practices and theories. Each student will be able to add their prior knowledge to the course during course discussions and reflections. Scholars will also be able to visit some unique Baltimore City schools to gain first hand experience and knowledge of urban education in Baltimore. By the end of this course, all students should feel that their voices were heard while also gaining a deeper understanding of the urban educational systems. Students will earn 2 credits for completing this trip. Annie Xie and Della Xu are the Alternative Break student leaders for this intersession trip. Read more about them below.

Annie Xie

Photo of Annie XieAnnie is a sophomore majoring in Mathematics and Applied Math and Statistics. She is originally from the small town of Guilford, CT. Along with working at the CSC, she is involved in Ready, Set, Design and Barnstormers. She is looking forward to making new friends and having stimulating conversations about education as the co-leader of the Urban Education Alternative Break.

 

Della Xu

Picture of Della XuDella is a sophomore GECS and Economics major from Guangzhou, China. She is involved in SAC, Green Leads, THREAD, SOHOP, performing arts, Kappa Alpha Theta, and sociology research! She has lived in five different cities in three countries, and has been deeply fascinated and shaped by every one of them. Della looks forward to sharing her passion of community involvement, education, and urban development as co-leader of the Urban Education Intersession trip

Spring Break Trips: March 18-24, 2017

Trip fee: $125 (Community Development and Food Justice)

Trip fee: $250/$100 deposit due after application selection (Habitat for Humanity)

All fees includes activities, lodging, and food for the week.

A significant amount of need-based financial aid is available and applying for financial aid will have no bearing on your application to the program. Students interested in financial aid should indicate it on your application.

Important Information

This program will be filled on a rolling basis. You will be notified within a week of your application whether or not there is a spot for you on the trip. You will be expected to submit the required pre-trip paperwork within 10 days of being accepted on the trip.

Have questions? Contact Caroline Ouwerkerk, Assistant Director.

Important Dates

Date Event
Wednesday, February 1, 2017 Spring Break Application Opens - Applications Accepted on a rolling basis
Monday, February 27, 2017 Priority Application Deadline
Within one week of acceptance into the program. Paperwork due to the Center for Social Concern
Thursday, March 9, 2017 Spring Break kick-off
Saturday, March 18, 2017 Program start date
Friday, March 24, 2017 Program end date

Community Development

The Community Development Alternative Breaks trip will focus on learning more and engaging with the social justice issue of community development in Baltimore. The week is split into different themes each day, such as education, health, homelessness, food justice, etc. The trip will be a combination of educational activities such as tours of neighborhoods and community service activities. Our goal for the trip is to expose the participants to the various issues Baltimore faces and show how the communities are working to resolve those issues.

For the duration of the trip, we will visit nonprofits in Baltimore like Moveable Feast, Paul’s Place, etc. to volunteer and/or learn more about what they’re doing to address community issues. We also have some fun activities planned during the trip! Milena Berhane and Woudese Befikadu are the Alternative Break student leaders for this intersession trip. Read more about them below.

Milena Berhane

Berhane 170x130Milena Berhane is a second-year pre-med Public Health major, originally from Laurel, MD. She is involved in Hopkins Eritrean and Ethiopian Society, Black Student Union, African Student Association, and Refugee Action Project. She’s looking forward to sharing her passion for community service as the co-leader of the Community Development Alternative Spring Break!

Woudese Befikadu

Befikadu 170x130Woudese Befikadu is a sophomore double majoring in Public Health and International Studies from Columbia, Maryland. On campus, she is involved in the Hopkins Eritrean and Ethiopian Society (HEES), Refugee Youth Project (RYP), Supporting Hospitals Abroad with Resources and Equipment (SHARE), the Multicultural Student Volunteers (MSV), and Johns Hopkins Underrepresented in Medical Professions (JUMP). She is looking forward to sharing her passion for tackling issues of inequality in Baltimore neighborhoods as the co-leader of the Community Development Alternative Break!

Food Justice

Do you know what a food desert is? How about a food swamp? If you are curious to find out, you should come on the Food Justice Spring Alternative Break! Food justice is becoming more relevant in today’s world with skyrocket rises in food, and increasing difficulty in accessing fresh produce. This trip will explore food justice issues on a local, state, national and international scale, and discover what communities and organizations are doing now to improve food security and equality through site visits, service projects and film. We will also discuss the politics surrounding food culture, misconceptions about organic food products, community education, and urban farming.

Join us for an opportunity to become more aware of your surroundings and get started on your journey towards becoming an active citizen! Blessing Ogunyemi and Rose Ole-Kuyan are the leaders for this intersession trip. Read more about them below.

Blessing Ogunyemi

Ogunyemi 170x130Blessing Ogunyemi is from Crystal, Minnesota and is majoring in Public Health and minoring in Spanish. She is a member of the Notes of Ranvier community service a capella group, ASA, and Hopkins Christian Fellowship. She is looking forward to co-leading this trip and facilitating discussion on the different issues surrounding the topic of food dessert and access to healthy foods during the Spring Break Food Justice Program!

 

Rose Ole-Kuyan

Ole-Kuyan 170x130Rose Ole-Kuyan is a sophomore chemistry major from Deer Park, New York. She is involved in HOPE-MAPS, Thread, and Hopkins Christian Fellowship. As a pre-medical student, she has a passion for public health and believes that affordable, accessible, fresh food is pivotal to building healthy communities. In addition, she loves to cook and can’t wait to co-lead the Food Justice Alternative Spring Break and make some good food!

 

Habitat for Humanity

The Habitat for Humanity Alternative Break focuses on solving the challenge of affordable housing for those in need. During the trip, students will participate in the process of building a house, including nailing walls, installing roofs, painting the house, and securing the foundation. No experience is necessary as onsite mentors will guide students throughout the process.

The house that we build will not only serve as a shelter for a future family, but also become a foundation for the family’s life. This foundation will allow the homeowners to seek better education and better jobs for their family without the worry of where to sleep at night.

While bonding with each other during this fun and meaningful alternative break, students also have the opportunity to explore Huntington, WV.

Spring Alternative Weekend Trips: April 7-9, 2017

Trip fee: $40 (includes activities, lodging, and food for the weekend)

A significant amount of need-based financial aid is available and applying for financial aid will have no bearing on your application to the program. Students interested in financial aid should indicate it on your application.

Important Information

This program will be filled on a rolling basis. You will be notified within a week of your application whether or not there is a spot for you on the trip. You will be expected to submit the required pre-trip paperwork within 10 days of being accepted on the trip.

Have questions? Contact Caroline Ouwerkerk, Assistant Director.

Important Dates

Date Event
Friday, March 10, 2017 Spring Alternative Weekend Application Opens - Applications Accepted on a rolling basis
Monday, March 20, 2017 Accepted applicants are notified
Friday, March 24, 2017 Participants confirm trip placement
Tuesday, March 28, 2017 Paperwork due to the Center for Social Concern
Thursday, March 30, 2017 Spring Alternative Weekend kick-off
Friday, April 7, 2017 Program start date
Sunday, April 9, 2017 Program end date

Environmental Justice

Are you looking for an exciting opportunity to learn more about environmental racism and discrimination within the Baltimore community? The Spring Weekend Environmental Justice Trip explores the social issue and how the environmental justice movement seeks to recognize everyone’s right to healthy living conditions. We will work with organizations and participate in a project in efforts to learn more about environmental justice.

Ali Lehman and Laura Janss are the leaders for this spring weekend trip. Read more about them below.

Ali Lehman

Lehman 170x130Ali is a second-year Economics and GECS double major, originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She is a sorority sister of Phi Mu and an ultimate Frisbee player here at Hopkins. She is also involved in YoTutoring and Building for Brains. As the co-leader of the Environmental Justice alternative break, Ali is super excited to share her GECS expertise and learn more about the environment and Baltimore!

 

Laura Janss

Janss 170x130Laura Janss is a senior Economics and International Studies double-major from Damascus, Maryland. Laura spent her junior year abroad at SAIS Bologna. She hopes to be spending a lot of time outdoors – hiking, going to farmer’s markets, and exploring all that Baltimore has to offer! She is excited for the opportunity to co-lead the Environmental Justice Spring Weekend trip and work with others equally interested in sustainability.

 

 

Hunger and Homelessness

This alternative break weekend focuses on the issue of hunger and homelessness and its effect on the people of Baltimore. We will visit and work with various organizations and service projects around the city that serve the Baltimore community and those experiencing hunger and homelessness, as we seek to learn more about this social issue. Organizations we’ll be working at include Our Daily Bread, Real Food Farms, and the Homelessness Speakers Bureau.

Emma Maxwell and Neha Onteeru are the leaders for this spring weekend trip. Read more about them below.

Emma Maxwell

Maxwell 170x130Emma is a sophomore from Evanston, IL studying Cognitive Science and Spanish. On campus, she works in the Admissions Office (although she can’t control who gets accepted), volunteers with the Tutorial Project, plays club softball, is a part of Voice for Choice, and is a tour guide with Blue Key. As a previous participant in incredible programs with the CSC, she can’t wait to share some of those experiences and co-facilitate a fantastic Hunger and Homelessness Spring Weekend trip!

Neha Onteeru

Onteeru 170x130Neha is a sophomore double majoring in Computer Science and Applied Math and she’s from Northern Virginia (specifically Sterling!). On campus, she is involved with South Asian Students at Hopkins, the community service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega, and works for the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. She’s interested in the societal issues that Baltimore faces as a whole and the solutions that can be developed for them. She is very excited to be co-leading the Hunger and Homelessness trip and hopes to meet equally enthusiastic peers!