Alternative Breaks supports the Community Engagement Proficiency. Student participants are given the opportunity to learn “analytical and practical skills” [SLO 1] and, for those that satisfactorily demonstrate those skills, may petition to satisfy SLO 2 and the Community Engagement Proficiency as a whole.
SLO 1: In order to satisfy the Community Engagement Proficiency SLO 1, students must earn a Satisfactory rating on the Rubric from participating in the following activities. The faculty/staff trip advisor evaluates the student throughout his or her Alternative Break experience.
- Pre-Trip Education and Training: Participants engage in pre-trip education meetings and training sessions for each trip, where they begin to learn about the community agency, the community, and the social issue. These training sessions are an opportunity to learn before they embark on the trip and include activities such as watching and discussing educational videos, learning statistics and stories, discussing the needs and mission of the community agency, and setting goals and expectations [SLO 1].
- On-Site Direct Service: At the beginning of each trip, students participate in orientation to the community organization and receive any skill training relevant to the service work. Throughout their time in the community, participants have the opportunity to participate in direct experience-based learning activities [SLO 1].
- On-Site Reflection: Throughout the course of the trip, students participate in daily reflection activities led by trained student Site Leaders and faculty/staff advisors to further their personal understanding of the community, the social issue, and how they can make sustainable change [SLO 1]. Additionally, all participants are expected to submit at least two (2) written reflective journals.
- Reorientation: Upon return to campus, participants take part in group discussions, journals, blogs, and other reflective activities where they share their Alternative Break experiences and translate their experiences into a lifelong commitment to active citizenship [SLO 1].
SLO 2: In order to satisfy the Community Engagement Proficiency SLO 2, students must submit a formal petition, which can be found here: http://smu.edu/gened/. The petition should include their satisfactory rubric and an essay through which the student reflects on how he or she has applied academic learning during the Alternative Break experience.