By Jordan Duckens
Office of University Communications
WASHINGTON -- For nearly 20 years, Howard University students have skipped the beaches, parties, vacations and even trips home during spring break to instead use that time serving others across nation.
This year, hundreds will spend spring break in seven U.S. cities and Haiti from March 9 to March 15 helping others with a variety of concerns – from illiteracy to gang violence to gun control to HIV/AIDS.
The program, which is coordinated through the Office of the Dean of Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel, is called Alternative Spring Break (ASB). It is student-run and student-financed with the help of generous donations from Howard alumni, students, staff, faculty and residents from Washington, Maryland and Virginia.
This year, students will visit Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, Memphis, New Orleans, Washington, D.C. and Haiti.
Fifty students from the School of Law will return to New Orleans to assist with seven public legal projects. Some of these projects include working with the Public Defender’s Office, Public Housing Authority, the Innocence Project and the Juvenile Justice Project.
ASB is in its 19th year. The program expanded dramatically in 2006 as more than 400 Howard students volunteered to go to New Orleans to help victims of Hurricane Katrina. Since then, hundreds of students have traveled annually to cities across the nation.
In the past, Howard University students tutored elementary school students in English and math, helped rebuild in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and helped establish a library for a public high school in Washington, D.C.