Get set for Alternative Spring Break 2012

by Eliza Florendo / Beacon Staff • March 17, 2011

Preparations for fundraising efforts for Alternative Spring Break 2012 are afoot--just a week after ASB 2011, according to junior Gabrielle Tassone.

While many Emerson students got their tan or relaxed at home last week, Tassone, a print and multimedia journalist major, spent her spring break volunteering in Pensacola, Fla. rather than spending time with friends and family.

Emerson's ASB allows students to help serve their communities in Boston and other places in the country. ASB always offers a Boston trip, as well as an away trip, because members believe that helping other communities is just as important as helping our own, student coordinator Katie Woods said.

“Learning how much we take for granted was the biggest learning experience,” said Tassone. She said that on the way to Florida her advisor inspired her by saying that no matter what you do in life, you have to put people first. “That’s what we do when we’re on this sort of trip. We did a lot of physical work, but it was all for the people of the community,” said Tassone.

Isabel Thottam, a sophomore writing for film and television and the leader for the Pensacola, Fla. trip this year, said her biggest lesson was dispelling the feeling that good deeds don’t matter unless they’re done on a large scale.

“The common misconception is that there’s no point to doing small things,” said Thottam. “It’s not about doing something big in one moment. It’s really the small steps that you have to make a big impact that matters. It’s like a domino effect.”

Woods, a senior writing, literature, and publishing major has been in the program since her freshman year. Emerson’s ASB started in 2007, when a small group of students went to New Orleans to help with disaster relief. Since then, the program has grown, Woods said.

This year, three trips were offered. A trip to Boston led by Janet Mullen focused on education and working with Boston's Boys and Girls Club in Dorchester. The trip to New York City, led by Sarah Dwyer, focused on building healthy environments by working with the homeless and working on urban renewal. The third trip in Pensacola, Fla. worked with Community Collaborations International, helping with ecological restoration, Woods said.

According to Thottam, some of the trip was paid for by fundraising throughout the year. Efforts included clothing swaps and cheap haircuts, where 100 percent of the proceeds went to ASB. An average free of 100 dollars was paid by each student for airfare, transportation, lodging, and food that was not covered by fundraising.