School of Public, Nonprofit and Health Administration

Service Learning on Spring Break

Each winter semester students spend 15 weeks addressing local and national community-based issues and needs and developing leadership, problem-solving and practical skills related to managing community service projects. The course integrates classroom learning with community service. Students complete numerous local service learning projects and spend one week in an area that has experienced a recent natural disaster.

To experience provides insight into how effective organizational practices can make a substantive contribution to addressing human needs. The experience and skills gained in this course will benefit students who will pursue careers in the non-profit community service sector.

For information on upcoming the next SPNHA-sponsored alternative spring break, contact Quincy Williams.

For other GVSU sponsored alternative spring break, see Alternative Breaks.

2013: Toms River, New Jersey

Hurricane Sandy made landfall on New Jersey on October 29, 2012. About 4,000 homes in Toms River were damaged. The township lost almost a quarter of its taxbase.

partner: Community Collaboration International


2012: Joplin, Missouri

Late in the afternoon of Sunday, May 22, 2011, a multiple-vortex tornado struck Joplin, Missouri. The tornado killed 158 people, injured 1,150 others, and caused $2.8 billion in damages.

partners: Boy Scouts of America and Rebuild Joplin

2011: Dupree, South Dakota

Depree is in the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation in in Ziebach County, South Dakota, the the poorest county in the nation. During the evening of Wednesday, June 16 2010, a slow moving thunderstorm produced 10 tornadoes, 120 miles per hour winds, and seven inches of rain in and around Dupree.

partner: Sioux YMCA


2010 (summer): Tanzania

Over 1 billion people lack access to clean, safe water. Water born illnesses are the 2nd leading cause of death. Vox addresses Africa’s water crisis through new well installation, well restoration, water filtration, well mechanic training, and health & sanitation education.

partner: Vox United



2010: New Orleans, Louisiana

Five years after Katrina, New Orleans was still reeling from the effects of the hurricane. Thousands of people were still seeking restoration, not only for their homes, but for their lives as well.

partner: Operation Nehemiah


2009: Biloxi, Mississippi

On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit the Mississippi Gulf Coast near Biloxi, causing massive damage to buildings along the coast and claiming 53 lives in Biloxi.

partner: Back Bay Mission



Page last modified March 13, 2014