Rollins Ranked as a Leader in Alternative Breaks

September 10, 2018

By Audrey St. Clair ’03

Students ride on a tractor at Zellwood Farm, not far from campus, where they work alongside migrant farmworkers.
During Intersession, the Alfond Scholars and Bonner Leaders teamed up on an Immersion in Apopka, just 45 minutes from campus, where they worked alongside farmworkers in immigrant communities.Photo by Scott Cook.

Rollins has ranked No. 1 nationally for the highest percentage of students who participate in alternative breaks.

Rollins has ranked No. 1 for the highest percentage of students who participate in alternative breaks according to Break Away’s 2017–18 National Chapter Survey. This is the sixth consecutive year that Rollins has ranked in the top five in this category and the fourth time the College has taken the top spot.

Break Away is a national nonprofit organization that promotes quality alternative break programs in which groups of college students provide volunteer services while focusing on social issues.

Rollins organizes its alternative breaks through the Immersion: Citizens Take Action program. During the 2017–18 academic year, the College organized 22 Immersion experiences in which 331 Tars contributed more than 3,800 hours of service at more than 45 community organizations and nonprofits. From Apopka, Florida, to Portland, Oregon, students addressed some of today’s most pressing issues, including homelessness, immigration, poverty, minority rights, and environmental preservation.

Students participate in Immersions tackling everything from environmental justice to human rights.Students participate in Immersions tackling everything from environmental justice to human rights.
Tars tackled some of today’s most pressing issues, including homelessness, immigration, poverty, and environmental preservation, during Immersion experiences last year.

During 2017–18 Immersions, students contributed to Hurricane Irma relief efforts in Miami, repurposed old lumber as part of sustainability initiatives in Portland, and tutored Memphis schoolchildren preparing for state examinations, among other experiences.

“As the advisor for the Immersion program, I see firsthand the impact these experiences have on the students,” says Courtney Howell, assistant director of the Center for Leadership & Community Engagement. “Students come back from Immersions with a stronger empathy for others and a better understanding of social issues, and they feel inspired to be actively engaged in their own communities, wherever they make a home for themselves.”

Thirteen percent of Rollins students participated in an alternative spring break in the 2017–18 academic year.

Other colleges and universities in the top 10 reporting schools include Villanova University, Bowdoin College, and Wartburg College. There were 183 reporting chapter schools this year.

Rollins students walking to class.

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