Faris, Gail

Advisor Department

Honors Program




Alternative Spring Break; Student Leadership

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.


An Exhibition in Student Leadership: The Academic Alternative Spring Break Experience

Ryan Kilpatrick and Elise Glidden

Faculty Sponsor: Gail Faris, Women’s Center

The Academic Alternative Spring Break program was founded at URI by Gail Faris six years ago in an effort to introduce students to the ideas of service learning, social justice, and what it means to be a concerned citizen. We were first introduced to this idea in the spring of 2009, when we took the course, Classroom without Borders: Academic Alternative Spring Break. It was about a year later that we both decided that our senior project would focus around this concept, but with an added component of student leadership. The idea of an Academic Alternative Spring Break may not be specifically related to our respective majors, but it is one that is both important in our lives and will help us in our future careers, whatever they may be.

Our project is unique for two reasons. It is a joint project, and it is also the first AASB to be led by students at the University of Rhode Island. In order to prepare for this trip, we underwent leadership training, planned and coordinated the logistics of the trip, and played a key part in selecting the students who would participate in the pilot program. We also acted as teacher’s assistants in the Spring 2011 Classroom Without Borders in order to familiarize ourselves with the material covered in the class and with the six students we chose for our trip. The spring break trip itself was a culmination of our training and a test of our leadership skills.

Our product, a student leadership guide, highlights the numerous steps undertaken to successfully plan and implement an AASB trip from a student leader perspective. It is our hope that this guide is informative and will be passed on and used by future student leaders at URI so that they will have the success that we did. Our presentation will portray the dedication and effort that went into our senior project before, during, and after the spring break trip. It will also include pictures and videos that further capture the spirit of our experience.

It is our firm belief that the successful completion of this project has led to both the development of our leadership skills, and our passion to serve as concerned citizens of our local and national communities, and we see this project as a stepping stone to a life of servant leadership and a commitment to social justice.