Alternative Breaks does more to help those in need

By: Cristina Miralles/Staff Writer

Alternative Breaks was able to make over $100 with a promotion they had with Chili’s on July 26. Students had to bring in a flyer and 10 percent of their bill went to aB.

“Not only [did students help] out a great group, but they [had the chance] to be there with friends and having a good time as well,” said Ariana Marquez, marketing and recruitment chair.

After winning first place in 1997, Alternative Breaks (aB) has been recognized regularly as one of the top programs in the country. As of now, aB is ranked second in the nation after starting off with just one FIU student who wanted to do something more with their vacation. aB is a proud member of Break Away, their parent organization, which coordinates other aB programs and more than 35,000 students across the country.

“Break Away ranks aB programs yearly based on innovation, growth and overall quality,” according to aB’s website.

Just like Break Away, aB started off through one student who wanted to take a road trip. Instead of going to parties or visit his parents, he wanted to get away from the typical college experience and help others. A few years later, aB was formed and became a network of 300 students who spend their breaks servicing all over the world.

From working at Sun Life Stadium to bake sales in WUC, aB fundraises to put money towards their trips. According to Marquez, they work the Sun Life Stadium concessions stands selling food and beer and get 10 percent of all sales from that day.

“The bake sale [on Wednesday July 26] was pretty good. We made about $90, and during summer that is shocking,” said Marquez.

Marquez said that some of the other activities they have to raise money are car washes, canning raffle tickets and cookouts during football games.

“The point of these trips is to help people who are in need during our [vacation time], said Marquez. During aB’s Aug. 12 trip to Jamaica, students ran a pre-summer school camp for the kids who live there.

They don’t just pick any place to visit, they search for things like whether the site provides housing, transportation, food, overall cost, whether other schools have been there before and most importantly, safety.

One of their events to start off the fall semester is the Lunch Pack. aB will be selling sandwiches with a fruit or cookies and a drink. “Our plan is to sell them in offices around campus and if people want they could pre-order their meal ahead of time,” said Marquez.

They also plan on hosting a car wash in September in front of the turnaround by AC1 and AC2. Marquez says that they wash Sedans for $10, inside and out, and charge a little extra for bigger cars.  aB is known for their community service and that is why September doesn’t finish with a car wash. On Sept. 11, their service will be put to good use when aB will be picking up mangroves around the bay and replant them afterwards. Lunch will be provided for those who come out and volunteer. Aside from the 75 to 100 students they recruit on a yearly basis, they hope to get more students interested during this event.

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