Student club offers alternatives to typical spring break activities

Danny Fitzpatrick, Staff Reporter

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Instead of binge watching Netflix, small-talking with relatives and catching up on sleep, one club offers a different way to spend Spring and Fall Break.

Tulane Alternative Breaks brings students on service trips throughout the country during the shorter breaks of the semesters. This spring, the club will take trips to the Florida Everglades, Big Bend State Park in Texas and to the city of Austin, Texas.

“The focus of the Austin trip is urban farming because right now there is a big urban farming movement in Austin,” President Alex Bourguignon said. “The Big Bend state park trip will focus on environmental stewardship. The Everglades trip focuses on environmentalism as well.”

The main purpose of the trips is to provide students who are looking for something exciting and different an opportunity to do so during their time off. The trip leaders work to make the trips affordable so that they are an economical decision for how to spend a break.

“It’s such a great way to spend your breaks,” Bourguignon said. “I know for a lot of people here sometimes going home for spring break is not an option just because of how far they are.”

The trips span the length of the break and center on community service while also exploring the surrounding areas.

“The trip that we went on last semester was a trip to the Florida Everglades,” Hannah Craig, vice president of education and training, said. “We worked with Everglades National Park and Biscayne National Park, focusing on beach cleanup and invasive species removal. Outside of community service we went to a Native Indian Museum and canoeing in the mangroves.”

While the trips are only a week long, members say that the experience extends afterwards in their daily lives.

 “I think the coolest part about TAB is that it inspires you to become dedicated to a cause and see how it is possible for you to incorporate social justice issues into your life,” Craig said. “It’s more than just a week of service.”

Interested students can apply on the group’s OrgSync page as either a participant on an existing trip or as a leader for future trips. For future semesters the club is looking to diversify the types of trips it goes on.

“Expanding the types of trips we work on will require outside people who are interested in a variety of issues to apply to be trip leaders,” Craig said.  “We have had a lot of interest in environmental issues and that is awesome, but we also want people involved who care about a lot of different types of issues.”

Despite the global causes focus, the club ultimately wants to make an impact in New Orleans.

Being in New Orleans, everything that we learn in the areas we visit we can bring back and use here,” Bourguignon said. “There are so many things we are able to do in our own back yard that it is just a matter of people going out of their comfort zone and exploring what is out there.”