Why You Should Try Alternative Student Breaks: An Interview with Sydney Bayer
Ever seen an Instagram photo of a friend volunteering in an ice cream parlor in Florida or doing construction in New Orleans? Curious about how they got involved?
Student organization Alternative Student Breaks (ASB) engages Auburn students in experiential learning projects that encourage an understanding of social issues.
We talked to Sydney Bayer, president of ASB, about the impact the organization makes on-campus and off.
Be Well: How many trips will ASB take this year?
Sydney Bayer: In total, we will take 13 trips. One during fall break, six during winter break, one MLK day of service, and five during spring break.
BW: How many students does Alternative Student Breaks send on trips each school year?
SB: We usually take 10 students on all of our trips with the exception of MLK day. In total, we had about 170 students participate in ASB this year.
BW: How does ASB strive to make an impact on Auburn’s campus? In domestic communities? Internationally?
SB: We believe service trips can make a big difference in both a community (because the team is solely invested in one area for a week) and in a person (because it gets us out of our comfort zone and into a heart of humility through serving). ASB wants to foster friendship and community through each one of their trips with hopes that it will continue when students get back to campus.
Overall, ASB wants to better individuals' character, so they can help better Auburn in a variety of ways after their trip. We want to leave every community we visit, domestic or international, better than we started, while representing Auburn University well. We hope to provide sustainable service that continues to impact the community even after we leave.
BW: How does ASB promotes health and wellness?
SB: ASB attempts to better mental health because volunteering and giving back to communities helps promote self-confidence and personal worth. We hope students realize how much they can impact the world in a variety of ways and that this will increase their self-value.
BW: How do you see ASB changing and evolving in the future?
SB: Due to a record number of applications, we definitely want to increase the number of trips we have next year, so we don't have to turn students away from trips. We're also hoping to add at least one more day trip during fall break this year. More importantly, we're really hoping for ASB to make an even bigger impact on Auburn's campus by encouraging and helping our students get more involved in other things after we get back.
BW: Any tips for readers who are interested in applying for an ASB trip?
SB: We want to know you and your passions. If we can really know you and your interests from your application, we can better place you on one of our trips.
Have you volunteered for spring break? Comment below and fill us in on your experience, or message us @AuburnCampusRec.
Be well, Auburn.
Photography: Courtesy of Sydney Bayer