While some students will start their summer break soaking up rays on the beach, others will be partnering with the Lexington community on projects such as gardening and exploring local neighborhoods.
Transylvania University’s Alternative Break program from May 27-31 will focus on themes of food justice, immigration and community development in partnership with local nonprofits including FoodChain, Seedleaf, and the North Limestone Community Development Corporation.
“We wanted to give students a holistic experience of the city they live in,” said Tevin Monroe, Transy’s AmeriCorps VISTA community engagement support specialist.
It’s a continuation of the university’s traditional engagement efforts during winter and spring breaks—but this time students will likely enjoy milder weather, and they’ll get to stay in Lexington as opposed to traveling to distant locales as they have in the past.
“One of the goals is that students will make connections with community partners and then continue working with them after the program has ended,” Monroe said.
Margaux Crider, Transy’s AmeriCorps VISTA for community garden outreach, said: “Food insecurity, homelessness, poverty and discrimination are not as visible they should be.” Alternative Break will bring awareness to these problems and what is being done locally to help alleviate them. Students also will find out how they can get involved—and feel more empowered to do so.
Monroe said students aren’t going into the community thinking they have the answers from what they’ve read in a book. They will learn from this engagement and the partnerships they form.
“We are here to serve alongside the community, not to serve the community,” Monroe said.