|Institution:||University of Pittsburgh|
|Full text PDF:||http://d-scholarship.pitt.edu/31303/1/Jess%20Mann%20ETD%20Submission%20-%20Bookmarks_Hyperlinks-2.pdf;http://d-scholarship.pitt.edu/31303/|
Service-learning initiatives often serve as higher educations approach to achieving institutional goals of fostering students civic growth. Alternative Spring Breaks (ASBs), defined in this study as short-term immersion trips developed to engage college students in direct service experiences, have been understudied as service-learning programmatic options in higher education, thus leaving little to no indication of the larger context of the service experience, nor its participant outcomes in terms of civic engagement (Jones, Robbins, & LePeau, 2011).This study addresses gaps in researcher and practitioner understanding of ASBs, by uncovering long-term effects of these widely utilized, yet under-researched programs. Through a narrative inquiry methodology, this study captures the stories of five alternative spring break participants from a mid-sized suburban private institution which organizes two domestic ASBs yearly. The respondent narratives speak to service-learnings ability to not only engage students in cross-cultural experiences, but to also cross internal borders within themselves, challenging pre-conceived notions of otherness and social issues. This study highlights the aesthetic and emotive meaning participants ascribe to their service experience long-term, noting shifts in their civic mindfulness and cultural sensitivity as well as propensity to civically engage post- graduation.By studying students experiences with border-crossing, challenging pre-conceived notions of difference, and individual civic responsibility development, this study unpacks the alternative spring break participant perspective shift and development experience. Through the use of Deweys philosophy of education and Girouxs theory of border-crossing, this study sheds light on the blind spots of service-learning, specifically ASBs, generating critique of the pedagogy in the hope of advancing the field, and ultimately the experience for future alternative spring break participants.