Furman Alternative Breaks launched in March of 2018 and are supported by the Center for Inclusive Communities in the Office of Student Involvement and Inclusion. Furman Alternative Breaks (FAB) aim to provide an experience that transforms students’ understanding of community, sustainable partnership, and various social issues. Students who participate in FAB trips will serve the communities they visit, while analyzing their role in the world from multiple perspectives, fostering active citizenship.
The student-led model is the foundation of the program. Two student Trip Leaders coordinate daily logistics of each trip, budget for all weekly meals and expenses, and facilitate reflection. Trip Leaders facilitate the day to day operations of FAB trips with up to 10 other peer participants. Programs are open to all undergraduate students regardless of major, concentration, or GPA.
The Barriers to Health trip is a partnership with the Institute for the Advancement of Community Health, and will examine structural barriers to healthcare and health services in Greenville, SC and the stakeholders involved in bridging gaps in access to health. Topics that will be explored this year are:
Students will explore Greenville’s network of municipal and nonprofit agencies, including United Ministries, Greenville Homeless Alliance, New Horizons Medical Facility, Magdalene Clinic, Miracle Hill, and more.
The Advocacy & Policy Alternative Break Trek, in partnership with the Malone Center for Career Engagement, aims to provide students with a glimpse into the complex issues of education, health, gender disparities, conservation, and policy making at the state and local levels in South Carolina. The Center for Inclusive Communities and the Malone Center will connect student to the social justice themes, community partners, and tools for advocacy. Students will be equipped for further, individualized involvement in the career realms of advocacy or policy related to the issues explored on this trek. Students will emerge with a deeper understanding of the intricate nature of policy making and advocacy in our state. Meetings and service with key stakeholder and community partners are designed for students to reflect on active citizenship and potential career paths.
The Food for Thought program will examine food justice and food ethics from a sustainability perspective. Students can expect to apply systems thinking skills to describe the complexity of various local food systems. Food sustainability will be examined through local restaurants, non-profit organizations, and communities committed to sustainability. We will be comparing food systems from multiple locations in the Greenville and Asheville area. Through these experiences and daily reflection with peers, we hope that each individual is able to develop a thorough and enlightened food ethic.
The interfaith pilgrimage to the U.S./Mexico border is a partnership with the Office of Spiritual Life, and will be an experience in service, advocacy, learning and spiritual reflection. The week will be both a service-learning experience and an interfaith spiritual retreat as we seek to engage in immersion learning and reflect using the lens of our diverse values and belief systems. Led by chaplains and student Interfaith Scholars and hosted by partner Frontera de Cristo, we will meet with groups focused on human rights and social services.
Students will have the opportunity to:
Through all these experiences, students will seek to better understand the issues related to the border, the lives of the people involved, and how various belief and values systems serve as lenses through which people engage with and respond to this experience.
Find out more information about our application process, becoming a participant or trip leader, or apply now!
Still have questions about Furman Alternative Breaks? We have answers.
All scholarship applications can be found on SyncDIN. The "Spring Mover & Shaker" scholarship is available for student prior to spring break trips!
“We got frustrated together, we got upset together, we found peace together, and we dialogued A LOT together. The important thing was that we did it together. I got to meet so many people who I may not have crossed paths with otherwise at Furman, and now we have amazing, deep relationships that will last beyond our time at Furman. FAB is about learning about the topic, yes, but it is also learning about yourself, learning about other people, learning about yourself in the context of a larger society, and forming relationships with other Furman students and with the community in which you immersed yourself for the week.”
“I was most looking forward to seeing applications of my class work in the Greenville community, but ultimately I gained the most from our debriefs each night as I interacted with a diverse collection of people. I was challenged not only to consider others’ worldview and backgrounds, but even more so to consider my own opinions on controversial matters. It was healthy and so beneficial for my own personal growth to challenge my existing ways of thinking but also to be comfortable disagreeing with people, because that is something I’m often very hesitant to do.”
“Thanks to FAB, I now volunteer at the Greenville Free Dental Clinic wherein the majority of our patients are low income. I am able to connect to them on a new scale, despite our differences, as I have studied some of the issues they face. I have even talked to one of my patients about her difficulty with the Green Link Bus Transportation System! I am glad I can now connect with my patients on a deeper level as I know how hard the barriers are to overcome. FAB has encouraged me to join the movement in removing these barriers.
“DEFINITELY continue to let students travel as a group without faculty/staff/etc. It fostered an amazing group dynamic and really empowered everyone to be their own leader, it brought us much closer together, and really made the experience more meaningful because it was driven by us.
For more information email Morgan Danyi.