Deadline arrives today for winter ASB sites

Michelle Ma and Michelle Ma

For students planning to go on an Alternative Student Break trip this winter, today is the last day to turn in applications.

Representatives from the ASB Executive Board say they are ready for the last-minute rush.

“We normally get 75 to 80 percent of the applications on the last day, ” said Weinberg sophomore Paul Overmyer, who is in charge of campus outreach for ASB. “(The applications) pour in really quickly.”

Five of the six winter trips are new this year and are centered on topics such as healthcare, urban issues and equitherapy, which gives therapy on horses to those with disabilities.

The trip to Florida to help with hurricane disaster relief probably will be the most popular trip, said Program Director Gia DiGiacobbe, an Education senior.

“(Florida) disaster relief is timely and affects lots of Northwestern students,” she said.

The week-long ASB trips combine service and education to let participants immerse themselves in an area and location of interest, DiGiacobbe said. The ASB Executive Board tries to pick locations that will represent a wide variety of interests, she said.

“We work really hard to be sure we attract different interest groups for each trip,” DiGiacobbe said. “(Trip focuses) draw people from different aspects of the university.”

Working at the Gay Men’s Health Crisis in New York City consistently is one of the most popular trips and is the only repeated trip this winter, DiGiacobbe said.

The trip to Omaha, Neb., to work with Sudanese refugees will be another “high demand trip,” said Site Leader Coordinator Malini Kumar, a Weinberg senior.

Student site leader applications for winter ASB trips were submitted in greater numbers than last year, Kumar said.

“I’m really impressed with the applicants for winter site leaders,” she said. “People who applied were extremely qualified and came from lots of different backgrounds and majors.”

ASB morphed from the Alternative Spring Break group as the organization included Winter Break trips. Fifty to 70 students will volunteer around the country during the first week of Winter Break in groups of 12 to 14 students, Overmyer said. Trips cost between $165 and $390 for each student.

Spring Break trip participation is much higher, with 150 to 200 students working at more sites, Overmyer said. All of the sites students go to are in the continental United States, but ASB representatives are considering adding sites in Hawaii, Alaska, Canada and Mexico, he said.

Applications for two Winter Quarter ASB student-led classes are due Nov. 3. The classes — offered P/N option only — will focus on specific topics and culminate in a required Spring Break ASB trip, said Weinberg junior Tyler Jaeckel, one of the class leaders.

“Classes are a great way to explore a topic,” he said. “We try to connect research on campus to the community at large.”

The student-led seminars are called “AIDS in America” and “Viva la Revolution: Political Organizing in the 20th Century & Beyond.” Class topics are different each year, depending on the interests of each class leader, Jaeckel said.

“Lots of people (seem) excited about the topics,” he said.

Trip applications are available on the ASB Web site. They are due by Friday at 5 p.m. at the Norris University Center main desk or by e-mail to ASB’s Participant Coordinator Edwin Li at [email protected]

Reach Michelle Ma at [email protected].