Alternative Break Service Experiences


If you’re looking to make a difference in the lives of others, we offer several extended service experiences. Our Alternative Break Missions provide a unique opportunity to join with other GMercyU students, faculty, and staff members in service projects around the country and around the world.

You’ll perform worthwhile community service while learning about cultural and social issues facing your host community. It's an experience you'll never forget, and one that you'll want to repeat again and again throughout your time here. 

Campus Ministry Alternative Break Service Experiences, GMercyU-Style

As part of our Alternative Break service program, the GMercyU Campus Ministry team offers service-immersion experiences during school breaks as part of a deep and lasting commitment to service. Students, faculty, and staff who participate in these experiences have nothing but positive feedback to offer.

ASB participants have a desire to:

  • Be of service to others
  • Learn more about economic poverty, diversity and social justice
  • Live simply
  • Grow in your spirituality
  • Reflect on your experiences, individually and as a community
  • Strengthen your leadership qualities and commitment to the future

Alternative Break 2022 Trips

Alternative Spring Break: Baltimore, MD (March 6-12, 2022)
This group will stay with a Mercy Volunteer Corps community. A portion of the experience will be to accompany these full-time volunteers to their service sites around the city. At Stella Maris, a hospice and retirement center, we will engage in a variety of activities with clients and residents. We will practice a “Ministry of Presence” as we spend quality time with each person, listening and assisting as necessary. We will volunteer at the Franciscan Center and learn about its long history serving this diverse city. Finally, we will hear about the pervasive challenge of homelessness in Baltimore which disproportionately impacts persons of color, and the collaborative initiatives underway to alleviate the problem.

Alternative Summer Break: Benson, Vermont (May 8-12, 2022)
This team will work and live with the Sisters at Mercy Farm, an eco-spiritual center whose mission is to inspire reverence for Earth and to work towards sustainability of life by acting in harmony with all creation. Mercy Farm focuses on connecting people with nature and healing the Earth through school and community outreach, farming, gardening and more. While on the Farm, team members will be learning about the environment, tending to the land and the animals, and helping with cleaning, painting and organizational projects. Throughout it all, they will be present to the experience through their interactions with the Sisters and with one another.

The application deadline was December 6, 2021. Please contact campusministrystaff@gmercyu.edu with any questions, comments, or concerns.

 

Our students raise all the money for their Alternative Breaks. 

Care to help? Visit our online giving page, scroll down to "Campus Ministry & Alternative Spring Break," and make a contribution. It's that easy!


A Look Back: Alternative Spring Break 2019

Through Campus Ministry, Alternative Spring Break students traveled to three different locations — Laredo, Texas; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Benson, VT — for a week of service and simple living. See recaps of our Ohio and Vermont trips below.

    Cincinnati, Ohio

    In Cincinnati our students lived in Regina Hall, a Mercy convent with five wonderful sisters who invited them to be at home in their home for the week.  They loved getting to know their host sisters and sharing family meals with them.  From there they served in a variety of Mercy-sponsored ministries, witnessing the goodness of so many staff and committed volunteers who spend their days in the service of some of Cincinnati’s most vulnerable citizens.  Sites included:

    • St. Boniface School, where all but twelve of the 180 students live below the poverty line
    • Bethany House, where women and children seeking emergency shelter can find a bed, a home-cooked meal, and a variety of support services 
    • Mercy Neighborhood Ministries, where elderly neighbors living alone on razor-thin fixed incomes find friendship, dignity, and celebration. 
    • Visits to the Freedom Center (Cincinnati’s Underground Railroad Museum) and to McAuley Convent (for prayer and supper with retired sisters) rounded out the students’ experiences of service, justice, and Mercy hospitality.  
    Benson, Vermont

    Team Benson spent the week with three sisters of Mercy at Mercy Farm.  Sisters Mary, Betty, and Holly modeled selflessness and servant leadership in beautiful ways each and every day!  We began each day by learning about the importance of tending our earth's resources through a video series called “Awakening the Dreamer.”  We discussed ways in which individuals and communities can positively impact the earth, preserving it for future generations. In the afternoons we visited local farms to offer assistance in a variety of ways.

    • We helped one farmer harvest crops for the market, and till and weed his planting beds in a large greenhouse that was roughly the size of a field!
    • We visited and toured Green Mountain University, learning about the amazing ways that they have gone completely carbon free in order to do their part and minimize their impact on the planet. 
    • At Mercy Farm, we helped to chop wood by hand, drive the 'Gator' and clear brush to prepare for spring planting, build a fence in the barn, and de-burr the barn cat (affectionately named “Barn Cat”). 
    • We also scraped honey frames to prepare the beehives for their May delivery of honey bees that will provide honey and wax for the community. 
       
    • This was a wonderful experience, which gave our students a very real perspective and experience of the difference between urban and rural poverty; the needs may be different, but the goal of service does not change.  It was an incredible way to learn more about one of the Critical Concerns of the Sisters of Mercy: care for and relationship with all of God’s creation.


    Interested in a Nursing Mission Trip? Find more information here.