By Deborah Wong, Staff Writer

Volunteers at the Iniciavita Comunitaria  in Puerto Rico / Photo Courtesy of Alex Valdovinos (CAS '13)

Volunteers at the Iniciavita Comunitaria in Puerto Rico / Photo Courtesy of Alex Valdovinos (CAS ’13)

For spring break, climbing into your bed back at home sounds pretty great and sun-tanning on the beach sounds even more relaxing. But over 400 Boston University students decided to do something productive during their one week of freedom from schoolwork and stress. They participated in an Alternative Spring Break (ASB) program and possibly made a significant change in someone else’s life.

These students spent a week doing community service that focuses on a specific issue such as public health, the environment, abandoned animals, etc. Usually they assisted a non-profit organization and did a range of activities each day. The students came back with a smile, knowing they’ve done something altruistic in their college life.

ASB not only offers students to make a difference in someone else’s life, but also offers them the chance to meet other volunteers who shared a common interest. When you’re working, cleaning, eating and living together with a group of 11-12 students for a whole week you’ll definitely make strong bonds, hopefully that will last for a long time. For some, ASB also allowed them to explore a new state, a new culture and a new environment. The volunteers had the opportunity to explore the city and had a taste of what the locals do, eat and see.

The volunteers said they would definitely join ASB again next year, two of them even said they would like to become a chaperon or a coordinator next year. Until I interviewed these students I did not know much about ASB or really considered looking into it. But after seeing them enthusiastically describe their trips and experience, I want to put ASB on my college bucket list. I now think it’s an experience everyone should try at least once.