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Service-Learning & Volunteer Programs

Alternative Break Trips

Contact Service-Learning & Volunteer Programs  

Service-Learning & Volunteer Programs

Office Location:
715 S. New St.
Commonwealth Hall, Lower Level
Enter at Student Health Services
West Chester, PA 19383

Phone: 610-436-3379
Fax: 610-430-5600

Alternative Break Trips

2018 Spring Break Trips

Addressing Issues of Affordable Housing with Habitat for Humanity in North Carolina

Students building a deck

In partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Alamance County, West Chester University students participating in this trip will travel to Burlington, NC to build affordable houses for families living with a low-income or facing significant financial challenges.

Habitat for Humanity of Alamance County, N.C., Inc., is a locally run affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, a non-profit, ecumenical Christian housing organization that works in partnership with people to build simple, affordable, energy-efficient houses. Habitat for Humanity sells the houses that are built at cost (no profit) with no interest charged to low-income families who qualify. WCU students on this trip will work alongside local community members and future homeowners to provide affordable housing options for those affected by poverty in the south.

Trip Leader
Becca Seeley

Advocating for Women's Rights through Political Engagement in Washington DC

Picture of Washington

Students participating in this trip will volunteer with various non-profit organizations across Washington DC to explore our current political landscape while advocating for social justice and Women's Rights in today's society. This trip is co-sponsored by the Center for Woman and Gender Equity.

Trip Leader
Mary O'Leary

Serving the LGBTQ Community Impacted by HIV/AIDS in Pittsburgh

Students helping the community

Students will unite to educate the community about preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS and serve individuals infected and affected by HIV and AIDS in Pittsburgh, PA by working with the Allies for Health + Wellbeing and the PGH Equality Center.

Currently, over 1 million Americans are infected with HIV. One out of five people do not know they are infected, which greatly contributes to the 50,000 new cases every year. During the week of service, the group will work to increase public awareness of HIV/AIDS and educate the community about the importance of taking precautions to avoid spreading these diseases and eliminating the devastating impact of the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.  The group will also collaborate with the PGH Equality Center to support particularly vulnerable populations.

Trip Leader
Samantha Eden

Empowering Youth through Financial Literacy Education with Junior Achievement in NYC

Students talking with youth students

Students participating on this trip will work with Junior Achievement of NYC to engage children in local schools through academic enrichment activities that improve social skill development, self-esteem, and civic engagement.

Junior Achievement of New York’s mission is to inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy. Junior Achievement of NYC is the local affiliate of Junior Achievement USA, the nation’s largest organization dedicated to providing students with work readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy education. Each lesson will focus on exposing children to such life skills as budgeting, teamwork, and communication while learning about their local and national economies through activities designed as games.

Trip Leader
Tyler Lonergan

Transforming the Environment through Sustainability and Outdoor Education

Students building a house

Students on this trip will partner with Woodland Harvest Mountain Farm in the Southern Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina to immerse themselves in sustainable living practices at an off-grid permaculture farm.

Woodland Harvest Mountain Farm's mission is to grow and sustain food and energy by teaching the community to be responsible stewards of the land. During the week of service, students will develop primitive and outdoor skills (fire building, wilderness survival, nature awareness) while taking part in service projects such as building an outdoor kitchen and community space with all natural materials and planting fruit trees.  Students will gain experience in basic tent camping skills, have the opportunity to learn sustainable methods for cooking and living both outdoors and in their homes. This trip is co-sponsored by Outdoor Adventure Pursuits (OAP).

Trip Leaders
Kathleen Tobelmann and Abby Kennedy

International Service-Learning: Kabale, Uganda

International Service-Learning: Kabale, Uganda

This non-credit international service-learning program will be conducted in Kabale, a town located in southwestern Uganda. Students will support the work of a grassroots organization providing healthcare and social services to the local population. While in Kabale, students will learn about this groundbreaking, integrated approach to addressing and improving maternal and child health and food insecurity. Students will conduct health outreach alongside health workers in rural villages and explore how nutrition and HIV and other illnesses are closely linked. Students will learn from and assist staff in their efforts to treat and prevent maternal and child malnutrition through education and counseling in addition to learning about the social determinants of health and healthcare provision in low-resource settings from doctors and nurses working at a general clinic, an HIV clinic, a maternity clinic, and a malnutrition center. Students will also visit local primary and secondary schools and participate in Nutrition Education Outreach using participatory drama and theater, learn about sustainable agriculture, novel protein sources in the form of a rabbit breeding center, and permaculture with a local social enterprise organization, and participate in workshops with village community groups and explore methods of growing a diversity of foods. This trip is co-sponsored by the Center for International Programs (CIP).

Trip Leader
Sam Pettinati



2018 Summer Trips

Creating Sustainable Food Resources in Urban Communities with PHS in Philadelphia

Students in green house

Through community gardening and education with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) in Philadelphia, PA, students on this trip will explore connections between areas of poverty and urban food deserts while also working to promote civic empowerment of both trip participants and community members.

During the week of service, the group will support the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s City Harvest Program in their urban farming efforts. With training from PHS staff, inmates of the Philadelphia Prison System grow seedlings at a prison greenhouse, and thousands more seedlings are started at neighborhood-based greenhouses run by nonprofit partners. The inmates receive training in gardening and basic landscaping along with valuable life-skills lessons. 250,000 seedlings are then transplanted and grown in 140 urban farms and gardens throughout the city, as well as in the prison’s on-site garden. Participating growers distribute the fresh produce in their communities, through food cupboard donations and at farmers markets.

Summer Alternative Break: May 20 - 26, 2018


Trip Leader
Ray LeChien

Guatemala Cross-Educational Experience

Guatemala Cross-Educational Experience

This non-credit international service-learning experience is open to students across the university interested in fostering a sense of civic responsibility, social justice, community involvement, exposure to local culture and language and to create an opportunity to broaden their global perspective and identity. Within indigenous villages surrounding Lago de Atitlan in Guatemala, students will have an opportunity to actively engage in the community to make a direct impact on members with varying cognitive, physical, and developmental disabilities. WCU participants will be partnering with local schools and agencies to implement activities and facilitate events. Students will be culturally immersed throughout this 13- day experience, as they will be accommodated in homestays and participate in Mayan Ceremonies!

Summer Alternative Break: May 19 - 31, 2018

Trip Leader
Jessica Huff

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