In March, 19 staff participated in Emerson College’s Alternative Spring Break (ASB) Program. ASB is a community service program during spring break at which students and some staff volunteer with nonprofit organizations. This year, during Emerson’s 13th ASB, Emersonians learned and served alongside community members in Boston and at the El Paso/Juárez border around issues of immigration and human rights. Several service opportunities in Boston allowed staff to participate.
Ashley Tarbet DeStefano (Elma Lewis Center) and Ilse Damkoehler (Education Abroad and Domestic Programs) were staff advisors to the El Paso trip. Chris Daly (Student Success) and Suzanne Hinton (Academic Engagement and Community Action) were staff advisors to the Boston events.
Daly and Tim Douglas (Academic Advising) and several participating students spoke at the April 7 showcase about the program. Daly noted that because there was flexibility in the Boston schedule of volunteer opportunities, participants could join in for projects ranging from a few hours to the entire week. Each day, projects were coordinated with a different nonprofit organization, ranging from career preparation workshops for clients of the Gilbert Albert Community Center (Dorchester), hosted by the Office of Career Services, to registering new U.S. citizens to vote with MIRA (Massachuetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition).
Douglas participated in two activities. He went to the JFK Library to watch a group of new citizens be sworn in and then helped register them to vote, and he also worked with students to record books on tape for children learning English as a second language.
He said, ”As the son of an immigrant, the time I spent at the JFK Library was incredibly inspiring. I felt more connected to my own family’s experience by watching this huge moment for these new citizens. Helping to register them to vote was icing on the cake.”
Thanks to the following staff who participated throughout the week:
And a special thanks to ASB’s campus-wide sponsors: Education Abroad and Domestic Programs, Emerson Athletics, Internationalization and Global Engagement, Government and Community Relations, Housing and Residence Life, International Student Affairs, and Title IX Equity and Access.
Jill Davidson, Academic Affairs