The Centre for Global and Community Engagement (CGCS) recently approached our office with an interesting proposal, alternative study breaks. In short, take a student's boring reading week and turn it into an amazing learning experience with the end goal of making the campus more sustainable.
In case you don't know who CGCE is, they are the group that operates the Community Service Learning program (you know... volunteer as part of your course work). They also run the co-curricular record and are basically a one-stop shop for volunteering on campus.
So in the last little while, the CGCE got a lot of questions from students asking if there were more intense volunteering opportunities (you know.... a lot of intense volunteering in a short period of time). Then the idea was floated to do this during the reading week because there are tonnes of students who don't have anywhere to go or who have community service hours to fill. The cogs starting turning and thus the Alternative Study Breaks were born!
The concept is simple; you and a group of volunteers are brought together with a community partner to work on a project. Over the course of one week you receive training, do some hands on work, and work on reflection pieces to reinforce your learning capacity. This all happens during 5 full days (at least 8 hours a day... not for the faint of heart).
So here at the Office of Campus Sustainability we decided that our project would be to construct our RecycleMania displays on campus. In the past we have built cup towers, garbage bag traffic jams, and cardboard box building blocks (here are some pictures from years past). This year we a re putting the creative control and construction of the displays in the hands of our Alternative Study Break Students.
We got so excited about his prospect that we ripped off the University's marketing campaign so we could promote the opportunity. For more information about the program, please visit the website.