“I looked at what happened and I was like: Yeah. Bp. The Oil Spill. Shit. Let’s do something about it.” Lisa Luna ’13, describes her motivations for leading a Middlebury Alternative break trip (MAlt) to Pensecola, Florida.
Malt trips are local, domestic, and international service-based trips led by Middlebury students on Fall Break, Feb Break, and Spring Break. Instead of spending a week lounging on a beach, MAlt trips give students the opportunity to do truly rewarding service work that they will remember for the rest of their lives. After recently attending a presentation on the upcoming Feb Break trips, I can rightly tell you that they are going to be the most fantastic, awesome, and incredible trips you’ll ever consider going on.
MAlt trips are generally 10-12 students and span the entire week of Feb Break. They are self-funded, meaning you end up seeing the students all over campus in fundraising efforts the weeks leading up to the trip. MAlt co-chair Taryn Tilton ’11 professed that “one of the most important things about MAlt trips is that they are self-funded. MAlt trips give you intense bonding both in the trip and the fundraising efforts beforehand with people of totally diverse backgrounds.”
I’ll just give you a quick run-down on each trip, because, lets be honest, they look incredible.
Oakland, CA: Students will work with a group called C.E.O. Women to help unemployed women (typically single moms) in Oakland succeed. Through the program, women typically increase their English proficiency dramatically, continue with further education, and see their business ventures succeed. The MAlt trip will be based out of this program, assisting also at soup kitchens, food banks, and homeless shelters.
El Paso, TX: Students in this trip will travel to the border of Mexico and Texas and will work at a shelter for undocumented immigrants. Students will participate in the co-op system (cooking, babysitting, etc.) as well as attend border education workshops and learn about the culture of migrant communities.
Pensecola, FL: Students will work with Community Collaborations International to do gulf oil spill restoration work on the coastline. They will be working primarily in salt marshes and oyster reefs, replanting and returning the ecosystems to their former glory.
Bomboli, Ecuador: This trip takes students outside of Quito up in the mountains to a section of the cloud forest that has seen a lot of major deforestation and damage. The group will be doing restoration work, general farm work, plant research, and more on a farm run solely by an adorable couple.
Megan Mishler ’11, the other co-chair of MAlt says “I think that this service work is so incredibly valuable. These trips change peoples’ lives. Honestly, we’re just so excited for these trips. So excited.”
Applications are due Friday!
UPDATE: Applications were sent out in a student body-wide email on October 1st. You can also get them at the ACE office on the second floor of Adirondack House or by emailing Peggy Burns at firstname.lastname@example.org .