Northern Illinois University's Huskie Alternative Breaks (HAB) program has been sending students to participate in community service throughout the United States since its founding in 2009, when compassionate Huskies joined together to provide their assistance in the wake of Hurricane Ike in Galveston, Texas. HAB strives to raise awareness and educate students about social issues by providing an opportunity for alternative breaks that will inspire them to become active members of society and leaders in their communities.
This unique service program at NIU provides students and faculty the opportunity to evaluate current social issues and seek ways to continually change the world.
An alternative break is a service-learning trip where a group of college students engage in volunteer service. These break trips occur on weekends, during the University's winter and spring breaks and during May interim (International Trips). Each trip has a focus on a particular social issue, such as (but not limited to) poverty, education reform, refugee resettlement, and the environment. Students learn about the social issues through trainings beforehand and then perform projects with non-profit organizations based on the social issue during that break trip.
Participants have the opportunity to:
• Meet other NIU students who are interested in service
• Learn about cultural and social issues while doing service
• Make new connections across the country
• Build relationships
• Grow, learn, and change your point of view
• Travel without spending a lot of money
• Create social change
It is HAB’s goal to have both fundraising events for each individual trip as well as large program-wide fundraisers in order to make these trips affordable for participants. The Huskie Alternative Breaks program hosts program-wide fundraisers to assist in lowering trip costs. Some examples of fundraising events include concession sales, Carson Community Day sales, and working with local businesses such as Culver's.