Raised of $6,500 goal.






Days Left
This campaign ended on Sunday, Feb. 21, 2016

Our Program and Progress

Since 1998, the Alternative Spring Break (ASB) program has provided an opportunity for students to learn about and from communities and students’ own potential to contribute to community initiatives.

These robust opportunities have spanned the country, ranging from:

·      Aiding Hurricane Katrina relief in New Orleans

·      Alleviating the affects of urban decay in Detroit

·      Environmental conservation in Joshua Tree, California

Since 2013, multiple ASB programs in the El Paso community have created strong partnerships between our program and leaders and organizations in the local area.


Who We Are

A dedicated group of students creating and embarking on a year-long leadership and community engagement program that culminates in a week-long service immersion experience during spring break.

We are concerned with immigration as a human rights issue, something that transcends politics and statistics to affect the lives of each and every one of us.

As a team, we are participating in ASB to further an outlet that:

·      Informs participants about the issues surrounding immigration

·      Connects us with the communities and people most directly affected

·      Emboldens the power we have to create change for the better


Where We Are Going

Through immersive service in the world’s largest border community we will learn about:

·       Economic development

·       Food justice

·       Healthcare equity

·       Human rights and well being

In El Paso we will see first hand how these factors interconnect within the pressing social justice issue of immigration. Since 2013, ASB has been developing partnerships with local organizations in the El Paso area working effectively to impact the immigrant community and bring an end to injustices they face. We are returning in order to nurture these long-term relationships and to share this expansive and eye-opening experience with this year's participants. 

Building Our Budget

This campaign page and its goal represent one of several undertakings that will make the ASB program a continued reality. The funds raised will defray participant costs so that the program remains accessible to all students. 

Renewing Resolve

This campaign will cover the housing, transportation, and food expenses for this year's ASB participants. Twelve dedicated students have been selected to spend their spring breaks serving the El Paso community and continuing to build on Emerson’s partnerships and impact in the area.

The program embodies Emerson’s core values of:

·      Moral courage

·      Celebration of diversity of thought and people

·      Commitment to ethical engagement, collaboration, and meaningful interaction with local and national communities

Help us create a positive impact, increase our knowledge, and build community by supporting our campaign today. Your donation will help ASB bring to life the concepts, experiences, and stories students could otherwise only read about.

Alternative Spring Break is a program of the Office of Academic Engagement and Community Action at Emerson College.

¡Gracias por tu ayuda! 

  Published on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016 at 07:39 PM (EDT)

After weeks of constant support from our family, friends, and community, ASB’s online fundraising campaign has come to a close. Today is the last day to contribute to our online campaign, and we cannot thank you all enough for your help. Although we have reached our original campaign goal, our overall fundraising goal has not yet been met. We encourage you now more than ever to continue supporting our cause, and helping us meet our reach goal of $8,000!

Although our online campaign is ending, there are still other ways you can support our team and the ASB program:

1. Lend your support by mailing a check made out to Emerson College with “Alternative Spring Break” in the memo line to: Emerson College ASB, 120 Boylston St 10th floor, Boston, MA 02116.

2. Attend our Silent Auction event on Thursday, February 25th From 12:30-4:30pm in Common Ground on the 10th Floor of the Walker Building (120 Boylston St). Bid on items from local businesses while talking with team members and learning more about our program. Auction items include donations from the Boston Pops, Brattle Book Shop, Veggie Galaxy, Qdoba, and more! 

Thank you to every one of our supporters for their contributions during this exciting campaign. Without the help of every single one of you, the journey we will embark on in two short weeks would not have been possible. Thank you all for your generosity!

Until next year,

❤The ASB team❤

Meet One of Our Contributors 

  Published on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016 at 10:26 PM (EDT)

With only TWO DAYS left in our campaign, we need your help to meet our ultimate goal of $6,500. We are so close!
Thank you to all of our contributors for their generosity— without you, our service would not be possible.

We have told you a lot about why we are running this campaign, but it's also important for our contributors to share why they choose to support our campaign. Here are some words from our featured supporter, Dr. Anthony Pinder:

“I think programs like ASB are one of the true transformational experiences that we offer here at the college. This whole notion of civic engagement is completely manifested in ASB. When we think about who these students are and what they will go off and be, post-Emerson, having an experience where they are out in the world, out in communities, really being a partner in the development in some of these communities—its probably one of the most important things they’ll do in college.”

Dr. Anthony Pinder is the Assistant Vice President of Academic Affairs for Internationalization & Global Engagement at Emerson College, and we greatly appreciate his support. His department has pledged a $300 sponsorship for our campaign.

With only FIFTEEN DAYS until we leave for El Paso, we wanted to share a very important quote with you as our Spanish phrase of the week, presented by our team member Laura:


We Have One Week Left! 

  Published on Friday, Feb. 12, 2016 at 04:40 AM (EDT)

¡Hola! We have just wrapped up our third week of crowdfunding for ASB’s service program to El Paso, TX. We’re excited to say that with your incredible encouragement, we have raised $4,915, or 76% of our goal!

We are so close to the finish line!

Help us sprint the final distance by sharing our story with your friends, family, coworkers, and on social media. With your help, we can reach this $6,500 goal in just 8 days.

With your support, we can help show the immigrant community that they are humans that matter, and that their rights are human rights. While those words are small, the impact is invaluable. ¡Muchísimas gracias!

This week, we will start journaling, a tradition ASB has maintained throughout the years. We journal to reflect on what we hear and see, and how we feel. This reflection allows us to begin processing these emotions and experiences, and to explore how these experiences connect with the community and the broader world around us. Between now and the end of spring break week, these reflections will help us understand what we can do to continue to have an impact on the issue and the communities it affects. Below are some journal entries from previous ASB programs that demonstrate the impact of the program on its participants: 

Alternative Spring Break, Boston, 2015

Alternative Spring Break, El Paso, TX 2015

Spanish Phrase of the Week:

Sin Fronteras: The Farmworkers’ Saving Grace 

  Published on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016 at 03:36 AM (EDT)

¡Hola a todos! Muchas gracias for your constant support. We have raised more than 70% of our overall USEED campaign goal thanks to you!

You have only 12 days left to show your support for our campaign by making a donation and sharing our campaign page in your social network. We encourage you to be part of this movement and show your support in these next few days to help us reach our $6,500.00 campaign goal.

This week, we're featuring a center we’ll be visiting and serving with in El Paso. Centro De Los Trabajadores Agrícolas Fronterizos (The Border Farmworkers Center), home of the Sin Fronteras (Without Borders) Organizing Project, serves low income residents and farmworkers of the city of El Paso. Such services include meals, arts and recreation for people of all ages, and ESL classes. The Center is open 7 days a week, and provides farmworkers a place to sleep between their shifts in the fields from 4pm into the early hours of the morning.

Carlos Marentes, Alternative Spring Break, 2015

Carlos Marentes, the Founder and Executive Director, was born in Juárez, Mexico, the bordering sister city to El Paso. When he immigrated to the U.S. in the 1970s, he was surprised to find such bad working conditions for farmworkers. To improve this, he became an advocate for worker rights. In 1983, Sin Fronteras Organizing Project was born to improve the working and living conditions of the migrant and seasonal farm workers. To this day, the center still offers services to the farmworkers, while trying to educate the public on food consumption.

Farmworkers, their families and friends, and local students are all dedicated volunteers who work together to keep the center clean and open every day, and provide assistance to community members in need. The center collaborates with other local, regional, and national groups and public institutions.

During spring break week, we will spend an afternoon cooking a meal for the farmworkers, and listening to them and Carlos explain their day-to-day challenges and experiences. We will learn more about the oppression of farm workers and the climate crisis, and innovative new food production and food consumption models that we hope to implement here at Emerson.

We thank you for your continued support for our experiential education, and hope you will take a minute to share our campaign page today!

And remember, you can also support our campaign through an off-line donation by following the instructions on our website here.


Sin Fronteras, Alternative Spring Break, 2015

Putting Our Service Into Context 

  Published on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016 at 09:02 PM (EDT)



As we prepare for our exciting work in El Paso, our team meets weekly to learn more about what life is like for immigrant communities in El Paso and how to develop community organizing skills to address them.

We have studied the ways in which the road to citizenship fails, leaving undocumented immigrants to face daunting setbacks such as inability to access health care and living in constant fear of deportation. The process of applying for citizenship is grueling, and the complex law makes it extremely challenging for families to succeed in the United States while awaiting their documentation.

We are also practicing our Spanish language skills in order to make the most of our one-on-one learning experience. We look forward to hearing the personal stories of immigrants when we get to El Paso, but until then we will be in the classroom learning all that we can so that we are prepared to serve and learn in March! 

We still have a few hours to meet this week’s goal of $5,500! We challenge you to make a contribution today and share our campaign page on FaceBook!

Today's Spanish phrase of the week is:

Angie & Lupe 

  Published on Monday, Feb. 1, 2016 at 08:52 PM (EDT)

¡Hola familia y amigos!

Thank you all so much for your support thus far! We are more than halfway to reaching our goal thanks to people like you. Our ASB team would like to not only thank you for this tremendous help, but also encourage you to spread the word about our program!

Sometimes it can be hard for those who have never experienced immigration first hand to truly understand the anguish that it can bring. Hearing stories from a person who has lived through these traumas forces us to realize how real and pressing the social justice issue of immigration is. With this in mind, this week we are going to share a story from one of last year’s ASB members, Angelika Romero, and her relationship with a woman she met in El Paso.

“'You are the first real person I have spoken to since I got here,' Lupe said. This phrase broke me down emotionally. I learned the practical definition of vulnerability by holding a crying immigrant woman in my arms. I met Lupe at a transitional shelter for families released from immigration detention in El Paso, Texas near the U.S./Mexico border, where I spent a week for my spring break. As a volunteer at the shelter, I spent my time cleaning mattresses, preparing rooms, sorting through piles of donated clothes, and cooking for hungry refugees.

I met Lupe on her first day in the United States, after she crossed the border with her two young daughters. She kept telling me how bendecida (blessed) she was to not have been raped in her journey towards the 'land of the free'. Through Lupe, I learned that borders do not erase physical or mental bruises. She was a survivor of domestic violence, a single mother with an elementary school education, and a former bartender who had served dangerous cartel members. These cartel members would intimidate and break into Lupe’s home with rifles pointed at her daughters, demanding to receive their quota, a monthly payment given to cartels to ensure that the payee’s family members will not be harmed. They rarely hold true to their promises. In fact, Lupe’s uncle and brother were both assassinated shortly before the day I met her.

What does it mean to be treated like an “illegal alien”?  Lupe taught me that to be treated as an alien is to not be provided with food and blankets while being held for 48 hours at a detention center. For two days, she had to  use her body to provide warmth for her daughters. Every person I met at the border knew what it felt to be treated as “just another case number”. Growing up surrounded by case numbers opens your eyes to the daily injustices performed in the name of justice.

By 2030, one in every three workers in the U.S. will be an immigrant.”

-Angelika Romero

*The name in this story has been changed & picture has been blurred for safety reasons*

Get to Know our Student Program Leader, Tyler! 

  Published on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016 at 09:18 PM (EDT)


After a very successful first week of fundraising, thank you for helping us EXCEED our FIRST WEEKLY GOAL

Let's keep this momentum going to meet our next weekly goal of $5,500!

Here is an interview with Tyler Powles, our ASB Student Program Leader, where he shares his experience with Alternative Spring Break. 

Also check out our Spanish phrase of the week, brought to you by team member Kira Venturini.

Alternative Spring Break 2013, El Paso, Texas. 

You Can Do More Than Donate! 

  Published on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016 at 02:42 AM (EDT)

From everyone at ASB 2016, we owe you all a huge THANK YOU for your tremendous support the first few days of our campaign. We surpassed our weekly goal in only 5 days by raising $2,398.00, 37% of our USEED goal. That’s a lot more than we initially expected for a kick-off!  

You can’t donate at the moment? No worries! We need your help to spread the word. Here are some sample posts you can share with your networks:

·      Your gift goes straight to improving a student's education. Learn about Emerson Alternative Spring Break’s crowdfunding campaign here: LINK!

·      Did you know Emerson College is up-and-coming in non-profit communication? Help improve the opportunities today: LINK!

·      Emerson’s Alternative Spring Break is challenging borders. Help them in their pursuit: LINK!

Thank you again for all you have done for us! We're honored to have such a supportive community. We truly appreciate your immediate support! ¡Muchísimas gracias!

Alternative Spring Break 2015, El Paso, TX

Alternative Spring Break 2015, El Paso, TX

Our Fundraising Journey is Underway! 

  Published on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016 at 09:04 PM (EDT)

¡Hola! Today is the day our campaign launches! Even the smallest donation makes a difference. For the 12 students that will be traveling to El Paso, TX, your generosity allows them to imagine a world without borders. We hope to visit several shelters and community centers, as we offer our service but also gain some knowledge on the challenges immigrants face on a daily basis

Our first weekly goal is $2,100.00. Help us achieve this in the next seven days!

Please take a moment to watch our video above. If a donation simply isn’t in the cards right now, please consider promoting our campaign via social media, in person, or even by e-mail! Your support is extremely appreciated. ¡Muchas gracias!

You can send us a check or a money order payable to "Emerson College" with “Alternative Spring Break” in the memo to:

Ashley Tarbet

Emerson College

120 Boylston St, 10th floor

Boston, MA 02116

Learn Spanish with us! Spanish phrase of the week:

Alternative Spring Break 2015, Sin Fronteras

Alternative Spring Break 2015, Nazareth Hall

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Make an Impact


Give $10

You’re providing a healthy meal that will energize us and allow for enriched engagement in service and learning


Give $25

You’re providing an educational experience that will allow us to better understand El Paso, immigration issues, and how we fit into and may advocate for a better reality in Boston and beyond


Give $50

You’re helping to fill our gas tank, which will allow us to convey our initiative throughout El Paso


Give $75

You’re contributing one day of the van rental that will allow us to travel within the community and serve where we are needed the most


Give $100

You’re providing one night of housing in the local community center that will allow us to remain as close as possible to those we are serving


Give $200

You’re providing much needed resources to amplify our impact in El Paso, such as those needed to cook, serve, and eat a meal with community members that will share their stories of how and why they crossed the border


Give $700

You’re providing one of our participants with the round-trip airfare that enables both the week of service in El Paso and prolonged effort to create positive change in Boston and beyond