ASPCC Sends students on Alternative Spring Breaks across the Country

By Andrea Salyer|May 6, 2018Announcements, Public Health, Top Stories|

For some college students, Spring Break means a trip to Cancun and an umbrella drink. More likely for PCC students, Spring Break means a chance to pick up some extra shifts at work, spend more time with family, or catch up on some non-required reading.

For ASPCC, Spring Break has meant sending students from all walks of life to different parts of the country, to learn about culture, build community and engage in service work. “Alternative Spring Breaks” have been a growing trend for colleges across the country, promoting servant leadership and the importance of expanding one’s mind through travel. This year, ASPCC sent students on three different excursions with three different focusses.

Bright Students, Big Voices: Washington D.C./NYC taught students how to lobby their representatives on issues they are passionate about, including the importance of supporting community colleges. Waves of Change: Kauai was a partnership with Habitat for Humanity, where students helped build a house alongside the future owners of the home. Healthy Oceans, Healthy People: The Oregon Coast had students learn about the effect climate change is having on the world’s environment and the importance of reducing waste.

Despite having different focusses and learning outcomes, the common thread throughout these trips was the community building that took place. When students travel across the country or across the state with each other, when they sleep in the same room, eat every meal together, or sweat alongside each other building a house. When they question the way a tour guide perpetuates negative stereotypes or when they find the courage to tell a legislator what they should really be thinking about. Going through these experiences together, both challenging and triumphant, creates a lifelong bond. It creates a strong sense of community among these students who are coming from different cultures, different ages, different levels of leadership experience, different areas of study and on and on. In a culture becoming increasingly divided, these trips encourage students to create a familial like atmosphere with strangers, for the purpose of learning and growing together.

I was privileged enough to be one of the Staff Advisors that planned and traveled to Kauai to work with Habitat for Humanity, along with Amanda Ellertson, Director of Student Life at Rock Creek. The application process was highly competitive, over 100 students applied to go on this trip, but we could only take 13.

To be eligible:

  1. Make a financial contribution of $400

  2. Complete 10 hours of service work before the trip

  3. Be taking at least 6 credits at PCC and have a GPA of at least 2.5

Programs like this take experiential learning to the next level.

Kien Truong, District Council Chair and trip attendee summed it up best.

“The great thing about the Hawaii trip was that the students across the district came together, learned together, and gave back to the community together. I personally had not met most of them, but a lot of them had already done so much for the college and the community…so after the trip, we got to build that relationship, carry on and continue giving back afterward, and that is the beautiful thing about it.”

These experiences aren’t just trips and memories, they are catalysts for change. They promote an understanding and expectation that we will all be change agents in our community. And that we can be inspired by each other, regardless of where we come from. These are the kinds of experiences that make enrich the learning environment at PCC. To learn more about future trips and opportunities, contact your local ASPCC office.


Students from the Healthy Oceans, Healthy People trip saved all of their trash to see how much waste they collected over the course of the trip.

Bright Students, Big Voices: Students link arms in solidarity, fighting on behalf of community college students everywhere.

PCC Students Lobbying in Washinton D.C.

Waves of Change: Students learn that “Habitat for Humanity is not a handout, but a hand up.”

Sheryl Grim, business major at Rock Creek, works on the foundation of one of the Habitat for Humanity houses in Kauai.


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