A.W.O.L

A.W.O.L. is BVU's alternative spring break program. In the past sixteen years we have sent 543 volunteers 123,000 miles to volunteer 18,000 hours of service! We have volunteered in five different countries and ten different states.

Below is a list of service trips available. To apply to be a site leader click here for an application

Mission: To immerse students in different cultures, heightened social awareness, and to advocate life-long social action through service on a local, regional, national and international level.

This year's student coordinators Danielle Eden, Bonnie Keller, and Ryan Mellott have developed three wonderful trips!

Learning Outcomes:

  • Develop an understanding of relevant social issues and their root causes
  • Gain an understanding of concepts of social justice, including power, privilege, oppression and difference
  • Share information with others about social issues
  • Gain tools to become engaged in community efforts and act on social issues throughout their lives
  • Develop a personal and sustainable commitment to Civic Engagement and become actively involved.
  • Distinguish the difference between volunteerism and social justice/ civic engagement.
  • Demonstrate the ability to effectively facilitate reflection and discussion among peers

*Adapted from the College of William and Mary.

AWOL 2016

Below is a list of service trips available. To apply to be a site leader click here for an application.

Trip Descriptions

Service Learning through Environmentalism and Sustainability

While working on an eco-friendly environment, the participants will learn and serve in a permaculture environment. The participants will have the opportunity to learn and serve about environmental conservation work on a urban farm, urban food production, agro-forestry techniques, stormwater and wastewater management, composting (soil biology and soil conservation), and bio-construction design and methods. The participants will also have the opportunity to take part in a permaculture way of living. The participants will be immersed in their lifestyle and learn about being as eco-conservative as possible.

Advisors: Dr. Ashley Farmer-Hanson & Elizabeth Reese

Site Leaders: Selecting 2

Site Leader Cost of Trip without Eggink Endowment and grant funds: $1,600

Site Leader Cost of Trip with Eggink Endowment and grant funds: $800

Immersion into and Education about Communities Experiencing Poverty and Homelessness

Participants will be working with a non-profit organization that serves the community struggling with urban poverty and homelessness. This organization started as a woman’s shelter, and they seek to create mutual transformations for the communities as well as the people serving with them. This organization will provide participants with transformative education, experiential learning, community living, and immersion into the community. The community service opportunities that the participants will have are all direct service designed to get directly immersed into the community. The service will range from working in the woman’s shelter, to working with children, to working with homeless shelters in different fashions. All of the opportunities that are available have a major aspect of direct service along with an educational component.

Advisors: Rev. Ken Meissner and Dr. Kristy McClellan         

Site Leaders: Selecting 2

Site Leader Cost of Trip without Eggink Endowment and grant funds: $1060

Site Leader Cost of Trip with Eggink Endowment and grant funds: $530

Canine Companion - Helping to Continually Train Service Dogs and Advocate for those with Disabilities

The non-profit organization participants will be working with is committed to expanding public understanding and knowledge of the needs of children and adults with disabilities through the rescuing, breeding, training, placement and continuing education of service dog and animal assisted therapy dogs. The dogs are in training up to 2 and ½ years. The service dogs are trained in a variety of areas including: mobility, balance brace, seizure response, PTSD, and owner trainer. Part of their training includes Advanced Training, where they come into our onsite kennels and are fine-tuned and evaluated for placement with their forever person. This is where you come in! During the 5 days you are here, each student will be assigned a dog in advanced training and be responsible for grooming, training and playing with that dog. In the morning all the dogs will need to be groomed and then worked with on specific commands. After dog training is over, we will have various projects to work on like tree pruning, fence maintenance, landscaping, painting/sprucing up all the training equipment, miscellaneous office work and leather leash making. In the afternoon, we will then take the dogs for an outing as part of their training.

Advisors: Lori Berglund & Donna Musel

Site Leaders: Selecting 2

Site Leader Cost of Trip without Eggink Endowment and grant funds: $1220

Site Leader Cost of Trip with Eggink Endowment and grant funds: $610

Check out the 2014 AWOL Trip blogs!

BVU Service Trip Locations

Click on a marker to find out more about a trip location, or click here to see a larger version of the map!