April 5, 2017

Forty Buena Vista University students, faculty and staff participated in four AWOL (Alternative Week of Off-site Learning) trips during spring break, enabling them to volunteer their time and service to a variety of people and programs.

AWOL has sent more than 729 volunteers and completed an estimated 33,756 hours of service worldwide, furthering its mission to immerse students in different cultures, heighten social awareness and advocate life-long social action through service on a local, regional and international level.

“AWOL is a wonderful opportunity for students to develop leadership skills, find hidden passions and to serve alongside others to build capacity and to meet local needs with community partners.”

Dr. Ashley-Farmer Hanson

“The program is designed to not only serve over spring break away from Storm Lake, but for students to apply what they are learning about the social issue and to take action to solve it on a local level, ” said Dr. Ashley Farmer-Hanson, assistant dean for student life and director of civic engagement. 

To ensure the AWOL program’s long-term impact on the student and the Storm Lake community, students research their service areas, identify a local need, serve to understand it better and address it using new skills learned on their AWOL trips and engaging in local service projects.

“Service is an avenue to utilize the skills being taught inside the classroom and to apply them for the common good,” added Farmer-Hanson, who also served as a site advisor on the trip to Hubert, N.C. “I’m really proud of how the students have developed into leaders who see that they can make a difference in the world and this program gives them an avenue to explore and take risks that end up being life changing.”

Learn about this year’s trips:

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