Rollins Staff Share Alternative Spring Break Best Practice

Rollins Staff Share Alternative Spring Break Best Practice


Meredith Hein, assistant director of Community Engagement, and Meghan Harte, interim director of Explorations, were recently featured speakers on a national conference call of more than 30 college and university community engagement, student life and non-profit professional staff members. The call was organized by Break Away®: the Alternative Break Connection, as a way to share best practices among college and universities and spotlight innovative alternative spring break programs taking place around the country. Break Away is a national nonprofit organization that supports the development of quality alternative break programs by providing training and information to colleges, universities, and nonprofit organizations interested in creating lifelong active citizens through these intensive service-learning programs.

The national conference call was focused on the best practices of selected colleges and universities who are using multi-media to support experiential learning and immersion programs. Hein and Harte shared the theory and practice behind Rollins' immersion programs, as well as the model they used in the development of the 2009 alternative spring break program and DVD production of Detroit: A Motor City Experience.  The DVD was produced in partnership by Seamus Harte with the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus.  Harte also participated in the conference call.  The trio discussed how powerful of a tool multi-media can be when capturing immersion experiences as well as its usefulness in assessing applied learning outcomes. They shared Rollins' best practice using multi-media (in this case, the DVD production) as a tool to engage trip participants, bring theory to practice, and observe the critical reflection that took place and during the Detroit immersion trip. 

Since the production of the 2009 Detroit: A Motor City Experience documentary, the number of Rollins students applying to take part in immersion programs has almost quadrupled.  To meet this demand, the Office of Community Engagement has doubled the number of immersions programs so that more students can take part in these alternative break experiences.