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ASB - Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of ASB?

The mission of Alternative Spring Break is to give trip participants the opportunity to examine the dimensions and urgency of social issues through an educational immersion experience. Alternative Breaks @ Stanford are service-learning experiences. Typically the mandatory 1-unit winter quarter directed-reading course (ASB only) prepares participants to go into the field during spring break, and during this time, participants meet with community members and leaders from organizations in the field with the purpose of enriching their knowledge about their program topic. For the 2020-21 school year, the in-person service-learning trip will not occur and participants will instead contribute with their co-leaders to the organization of the 2020-21 Alternative Breaks @ Stanford Conference on Community Organizing.

How are Alternative Spring Break trips adapting to concerns surrounding COVID-19?

In response to the rapidly changing circumstance that we are in, Alternative Breaks @ Stanford is postponing TGB and ASB in-person service-learning trips until the university advises it is safe to do so. Instead of the service-learning trip, ASBs for the 2020-21 school year will involve a mandatory course in the Winter Quarter that culminates in minimum 2 workshop contributions to the 2020-21 Alternative Breaks @ Stanford Conference on Community Organizing. The course exposes students to complex social and cultural issues through group discussion, readings and reflection activities, while the conference is characterized by community representation, experiential learning, and creating relevant action plans for community engagement and organizing. The program's vision is to transform students into advocates of social change on issues affecting our local, national and global communities. The program is entirely student-run, and each ASB course will feature 2 co-leaders who chose a specific topic to focus on. Through the application process, participants will be chosen to partake in the Winter course to organize their ASB's workshops for the conference.

How do I apply for an ASB course?

Click on the "apply to participate" link in the ASB/TGB drop-down menu. On the "apply to participate" page, click on the ASB or TGB link and fill out the Qualtrics application form.

Alternatively, you can directly access the application link [url=https://tinyurl.com/Stanford-ASB-2021]here[/url].

How many ASB/TGB courses/trips are there?

For the 2020-21 school year, we are offering 1 Thanksgiving Back course and 4 Alternative Spring Break courses. Click on the "Courses and Trips" tab above for a description of each course.

I really want to be a part of ASB but I can't participate in the Winter Quarter course or I won't be able to be there for the entire conference. Am I still eligible to apply?

Students who are unable to participate in an ASB's winter quarter course are ineligible to participate in ASB. Participants are expected to attend their workshop contribution to the conference. Scroll down for information about potential conflicts regarding religious observances.

What is the structure of the Winter Quarter course?

During Winter Quarter, trip participants take a specialized course facilitated by the ASB leaders and a faculty advisor. By preparing participants with background knowledge of the individual ASB's relevant issues, the 1-unit discussion-based class enhances and deepens the culmiinating experience, which for 2020-21 will be a conference instead of the week-long service-learning trip.

What will my spring break trip be like?

The 2020-21 ASBs will not have any in-person service-learning trips during spring break.

How much does ASB cost?

The total program fee is free given the changes of the format to a virtual conference.

When is the 2020-21 Alternative Breaks @ Stanford Conference on Community Organizing? When will my ASB's workshops occur within that conference?

The date and time of the 2020-21 Alternative Breaks @ Stanford Conference on Community Organizing will be announced shortly but is expected to take place the first weekend of Spring Break. The ASB workshop times will be established among participates and their coleaders.

Will I be able to observe religious holidays during ASB?

Yes! Students may make arrangements with course leaders (let them know well in advance of the trip) to attend services or to observe a particular religious tradition/practice. In the past, ASB groups have shared their spiritual traditions with each other as a way of appreciating and better understanding each other's backgrounds. Our ASB leaders are open to hearing participants' ideas and needs during the course or conference - religious/spiritual needs are no exception!

Are there any prerequisites for applying to ASB?

No! All Stanford undergraduate students are encouraged to apply; there is no prerequisite of prior public service involvement.

What is the timeline for the selection process? When will I know whether I have been accepted?

The deadline for 2020-21 TGB/ASB applications is November 2, 2020 11:59 PM PST and accessible [url=https://tinyurl.com/Stanford-ASB-2021]here[/url]. Generally, applicants will be notified during November.

How does the ASB selection process work? Do the leaders choose participants?

Participants are assigned to courses based on a system that maximizes participation. For more information, visit the "Apply to Participate" page.

Can I apply to more than one ASB course? Do I have to fill out a separate application for each?

You may apply to as many as three programs. To apply, you need to complete the general application questions as well as respond to the ASB-specific question for each trip to which you are applying.

I have too much/too little to say - can I ignore the maximum/minimum word counts on the application essays?

Essays must be less than 400 words. Use the word count feature on a word processor to track your progress! Please also save a copy of your responses on your own computer.

I am a past participant of ASB. Am I eligible to apply again?

Yes, as a past participant we actively welcome and encourage you to apply for another ASB course. However, we ask that you do not apply for the same trip you previously participated in, as we would like to give other students an opportunity to experience it. If you would like to find an avenue to further pursue the ideas presented in your course, please contact the ASB Coordinators to get more information about other programs we offer, such as the Mini-Grant.

My question is not listed. Who do I contact?

If your question is not listed above, email the AB@S Executive Director Alyssa Romanos at aromanos@stanford.edu.