Alternative Service Breaks
About the ASB Program
To provide community driven service trips that enhance students’ educational experience by strengthening their empathy and purpose, and inspiring them to be ethical and responsible global citizens.
- Critical Reflection
- Cultural Competence
We envision our university community committed to and creating cooperative, positive, and sustainable social change.
Our programs are rooted in and guided by:
- Fair Trade Learning
- Asset-Based Community Development
- Social Change Model
- Critical Leadership Development
Fair Trade Learning:
The volunteer tourism industry is growing rapidly across the nation and especially within higher education. These trips often focus on humanitarian and environmental projects with the intention of serving the communities in need. While they have the best of intentions, there have been a variety of very valid criticisms of and documented mistakes in the volunteer tourism, service learning, and international development industries. Criticism has focused on the potential of volunteer tourism to lead to new forms of colonialism and dependency and the potential exploitation of hosting (and sometimes very vulnerable) communities. This has resulted in a call for an ethical framework for volunteer tourism (trips less than 4 weeks long) to maximize the benefit for both the hosting community and volunteers, while reducing any potential and unintended harm. This framework that has emerged is: Fair Trade Learning. (Hartman, et al. 2014).
Fair Trade Learning core principles: mutually beneficial, community-driven, commitment, transparency, environmental sustainability & footprint reduction, economic sustainability, developing cultural competency, and global community building.
Resources on Fair Trade Learning:
- Campus Compact: Summary and Key Documents on FTL
- The Story Behind FTL
- Parody video on how NOT to do volunteer tourism
Asset-Based Community Development:
Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) is about local people working together for the wellbeing of their community. ABCD is primarily relationship building for action for a collective purpose, a path to organize groups and people in a community to act together for the common good. The focus is upon building power (the ability to act effectively) through relationships. How? First ABCD is an approach to discover local community assets instead of focusing on community weakness and needs. This asset mapping is mostly what people do in the name of ABCD. Second and more importantly ABCD is "practices and principles" for mobilizing a local community to move into action with residents at the center... not as outsiders. The community is the principal actor not the client. Residence are centered, not the good hearted volunteer tourists. ABCD is a path to organize community partnership of local people and their stakeholder groups to find, connect, and make productive a growing circle of local assets working for the common good.
- ABCD Overview PowerPoint
- ABCD DePaul Institute Handout
- ABDC Overview and Additional Resources
- DePaul ABCD Institute Took Kit
- Needs vs. Asset Mapping
- Asset Mapping Toolkit
Social Change Model:
Established in 1994, the Social Change Model approaches leadership as a purposeful, collaborative, values-based process that results in positive social change. The Model was built upon the following assumptions:
- Leadership is concerned with effecting change on behalf of others and society
- Leadership is collaborative
- Leadership is a process rather than a position
- Leadership should be value-based
- All students (not just those that hold formal leadership positions) are potential leaders
- Service is a powerful vehicle for developing students’ leadership skills
The Social Change Model of Leadership based on seven dimensions, or values, called the “Seven C’s”: consciousness of self, congruence, commitment, common purpose, controversy with civility, collaboration, and citizenship. All seven values work together to accomplish the transcendent “C” of change.
Social Change Model Resources:
Critical Leadership Development:
- Centers leadership as a social process worthy of social science examination in a transdisciplinary way
- Provides theory and a methodology for conducting critical examinations of normative social processes
- Encourages a practice of critical leadership that extends beyond recognition of the flaws in leadership studies
Critical Leadership Development Resources:
Types of ASB Trips Offered
Single-day ASB trips are offered on the Palouse. Always free, and always great service with community partners.
Weekend ASB provides short-term, immersive service opportunities within a five hour drive from Moscow. Three trips depart each semester and each trip is free for participants!
Serve internationally during one of our Winter ASB trips. Participants serve for two weeks after the Christmas holiday before returning to campus for spring semester. The cost for participants is typically $1,500, however scholarships are available.
Spring ASB offers regional experiences to students during March spring break. Past trips have served in Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Montana, and Wyoming. The cost for participants is typically $150.
Summer ASB sends students throughout the United States to serve communities in need. Participants typically serve the first or second week after spring commencement for ten days.
Since 2001, the University of Idaho has sent hundreds of students to perform service during their breaks. It is because of generous donations that we have been able to offer scholarships to low-income students so that everyone can participate in this incredible opportunity. It is also because of the generosity of donors that the Center for Volunteerism & Social Action was able to establish the Weekend ASB program in 2017. If you would like to donate to help support the ASB program and its scholarships, please click the button below.