Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 69.39
Liaison Brad Spanbauer
Submission Date July 9, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh
IN-2: Innovation 2

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Brian Kermath
Sustainability Director
Sustainability Office
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Title or keywords related to the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
Alternative Spring Break: Be the Impact

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:

An alternative break is a trip where a group of college students (usually 10-12 per trip) engage in volunteer service, typically for a week. Alternative break trips originated with college students in the early 1980s as a counter to "traditional" spring break trips. Each trip has a focus on a particular social issue, such as (but not limited to) poverty, education reform, refugee resettlement, and the environment. Students learn about the social issues and then perform week-long projects with local non-profit organizations. Alternative breaks challenge students to critically think and react to problems faced by members of the communities in which they are involved. UW Oshkosh is proud to host four Alternative Spring Break trip options; New York City, New Orleans, Honduras, and Guatemala. Student can apply to be part of this program!

New York – Diversity & Inclusion
As students travel to New York on this diversity and inclusion trip, they will volunteer with GMHC. GMHC is the world’s first and leading provider of HIV/AIDS prevention, care and advocacy. Building on decades of dedication and expertise, they understand the reality of HIV/AIDS and empower a healthy life for all.

New Orleans
Students traveling to New Orleans will be working with Common Ground Relief to rebuild homes that were devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Common Ground Relief’s mission is to create resilient Gulf Coast Communities that are environmentally sustainable, financially viable and personally cohesive. We fulfill this mission by helping residents build assets that support community transformation and renewal. The group will also spend a day working with the Animal Rescue of New Orleans.

International Trip: Guatemala – Sustainability
The purpose of the ASB trip to Guatemala is to provide students with an opportunity to help out with disaster relief, assist farmers with coffee growing, and other various projects. This trip will allow students the chance submerse themselves in a different culture while volunteering.

International Trip: Honduras – Leadership development through service and youth education
On this trip to Honduras students will be working with the non-profit Organization for Youth Empowerment – OYE Honduras. OYE’s mission as a community-based, youth-led organization is to develop the leadership and capacity of at-risk Honduran youth who come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. OYE’s integrated development approach combines formal education, youth capacity building, and community engagement to inspire and equip young people with the awareness and skills they need to take control of their lives. In Honduras, primary education is free and obligatory for every child between the ages of seven and fourteen, but the associated transportation costs and income-loss to the household when a child is in school is often too much for families to bear, resulting in children who are forced to drop out of school and are thus unable to complete their “obligatory” education. OYE works to increase the number of students completing their education. In one week volunteers participate in a wide variety of activities including political, social and regional awareness seminars, visits to local schools, nutrition centers for infants, orphanages and collaborations with local grassroots youth development efforts.

A brief description of any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation (if not reported above):

Every trip keeps a running blog that each student participates in. (http://www.uwosh.edu/deptblogs/asb/) It follows their journey before, during, and after their trip ends. There are data on the number of participants for each trip for each year. Also, some of the money paid towards the trip by the participants goes directly to the people they are assisting.

Founded in 2005, OYE Adelante Jóvenes (Organization for Youth Empowerment) is a small NGO in the city of El Progreso that exists to empower Honduran youth with scarce economic resources to continue their education and become socially conscious leaders of positive change in their communities. We envision a society where Honduran youth are active contributors to the positive development of their country.
Every year, OYE provides approximately 70 high school and university scholarships for at-risk youth who not only have a real economic necessity and maintain a respectable GPA, but also demonstrate leadership potential and a strong desire to succeed and overcome adversity.
Throughout their time in Honduras they are able to get to know OYE scholars on personal levels. They became more than just the scholars of OYE, they become friends. If they have a few extra dollars to spare, its put towards the fund to help their dream of getting an education come through.

A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise:
Which of the following STARS subcategories does the innovation most closely relate to? (Select all that apply up to a maximum of five):
Yes or No
Curriculum ---
Research ---
Campus Engagement Yes
Public Engagement Yes
Air & Climate ---
Buildings ---
Dining Services ---
Energy ---
Grounds ---
Purchasing ---
Transportation ---
Waste ---
Water ---
Coordination, Planning & Governance Yes
Diversity & Affordability Yes
Health, Wellbeing & Work ---
Investment ---

Other topic(s) that the innovation relates to that are not listed above:

The website URL where information about the innovation is available:
Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.