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2020 - 2021 ASB Courses

There are 5 2020-2021 ASB courses. Due to COVID-19, ASBs will not travel this year. 2020-2021 applications for ASB participants are now open and accessible here.


  • Asian-American Issues

What does it mean to be Asian American? In this Alternative Spring Break program, we will explore how the term Asian American is simultaneously a lived experience as well as a framework through which our communities can pursue aims of social justice. We will begin the course by analyzing how historical, social, and political forces have shaped Asian American identity, being sensitive to the diverse and complex ways that different individuals embody “Asian Americanness.” Then, we will use that background knowledge to consider a broad range of social justice issues, such as workers’ and immigrant rights, LGBTQ rights, environmental justice, disability justice, socioeconomic justice, and more. By exploring these issues through an Asian American lens, we will begin to see the ways that Asian Americans are connected to a larger fight for justice and uniquely positioned to take social action. Our hope is that participants will leave the program with a greater sense of Asian American community and ready to make the world a more just place.


  • Pilipinx Issues, Makibaka: Dare to Struggle

In 1986, millions of Pilipinx people took to the streets of Metro Manila to call for the resignation of Ferdinand Marcos-- a dictator who had led the Philippines for the past 20 years. Through nonviolent protest, they succeeded in deposing Marcos from office and took control of the trajectory of their nation. This event, among other monumental chapters throughout Pilipinx and Pilipinx-American history, demonstrates that when a group of people take action and unite toward a common cause, the potential for change is great. In this course, we will learn about Pilipinx events and issues that have shaped the Pilipinx and Pilipinx-American identity. We will first trace the history of the Philippines in order to understand the events and circumstances that led to the struggles that Pilipinos and Pilipino-Americans face today. The class will then delve into the concept of sustainable service by exploring ideas of activism, creative expression, community empowerment, and solidarity between marginalized communities. Students will leave this class with a complex understanding of both Pilipinx history and issues, as well as sustainable service. They will be able to take the skills they develop in this class to start conversations about relevant issues, get involved with movements for change here and abroad.


  • Women’s Issues in the Bay

What does it mean to be an advocate for women’s rights? How do we address gender disparities across medicine, policy, tech, and daily life? Our program aims to explore the intersections of identity, voice, and representation through analyzing aspects of womanhood through the lens of gender advocacy in the Bay Area. We will explore the effect gender parity, or the lack thereof, has on arenas ranging from tech to health policy to political movements and government representation, meeting empowering change-makers disrupting the traditional paradigms in these fields along the way. We hope to explore questions such as “What is intersectionality?” and “How does activism and entrepreneurship by and on part of women manifest on both a local and national level?”. By exploring the social, political, and economic climate, particularly in the Bay Area, as well as the historical landmarks and efforts that have brought us to where we are today, we hope to empower Stanford students to return to campus empowered to be better feminists and advocates for gender equality in their respective fields.


  • Just Corn and Cows? Bridging the Rural-Urban Divide

Do you want to engage with issues facing rural America? Step outside the bubble. Rural areas are home to 97% of the country’s landmass and 19% of Americans but until the 2016 elections, many Americans weren’t aware of many of the struggles and successes facing rural communities. 40% of rural Americans are still left without effective broadband Internet access, unable to open the door to opportunities for development and implementation of technology. Through our one-unit Winter Quarter class and spring break, we will engage with issues that disproportionately affect rural communities including health care, internet access, and agriculture. We’ll look at patterns in the rural-urban divide across the US, with an emphasis on Mississippi and the South, through a historic, social, and economic lens. While being exposed to a diversity of perspectives is a vital goal of Stanford’s education, only about 4% of Stanford undergrads hail from rural areas. We aim to provide students with a learning experience they otherwise may not encounter. We hope it will be a unique opportunity for future policymakers, computer scientists, business owners, and other leaders to engage in constructive dialogue and brainstorm solutions for challenges in America’s future.


  • XJ in the Bay*

What is the relationship between housing injustice and environmental justice? How can environmental activism be expanded to include social justice, and how can we use environmental and health issues to unite across cultural and socioeconomic boundaries? What does being a supportive ally look like? These are the questions we will attempt to answer in this class. The winter quarter class will give a history of housing and environmental injustices in the Bay Area, as well as the opportunity to examine in depth some subcategories of our broader themes such as public health, environmental policy, food security, intersectional identities/othering, the urban/rural dichotomy, and transportation. Students will be split into three groups, each of which will be tasked with choosing a community organization (we will provide a list of options) to engage with during spring break. These orgs might include renter’s coalitions, community farms, worker’s unions, EJ activist groups, and more.

* NOTE: XJ’s format will not be the same as other classes. Instead of a weekly class, XJ in the Bay will have 3 workshops (2 hr long) throughout the entire quarter.