CEA Conference explores future of alternative breaks

June 14, 2017

Last week, more than 50 faculty, staff, and student leaders representing 29 colleges and universities from 8 states convened for the 2017 Civic Engagement Administrators Conferences. The event focused on alternative service experiences, often called “alternative breaks,” and featured 3 keynote speakers and a dozen workshop presenters.

To re-cap the event, we’ll share some favorite Tweets posted to our event hashtag, #NCCEAC! First, from our executive director Leslie Garvin, who concluded the day by remembering her own undergraduate experience on a student-led alternative break:

From one our great presenters, Lori Kniffin at UNC Greensboro, whose breakout session focused on conceptions of community engagement and how scholars and students “enter” a new community:

Other popular sessions addresses topics like risk management, reorientation, and applying a critical service learning lens to international breaks.

From one of our out-of-state friends, who joined us from University of South Carolina:

In addition to USC, representatives from 9 other colleges and universities outside NC made the trip to Elon, including folks from Emerson College in Massachusetts, Miami University in Ohio, Georgia Southern University, and Vanderbilt.

Highlights of the day included keynotes led by Melody Porter of William & Mary and Shoshanna Sumka of Sidwell Friends School, co-authors with Jill Piacitelli of Working Side by Side: Creating Alternative Breaks as Catalysts for Global Learning, Student Leadership, and Social Change (2015).

Dr. Elizabeth Niehaus of the University of Nebraska – Lincoln also delivered a keynote presentation, “‘It changed my life, but then what?’ Maximizing the impact of ABs through understanding how students integrate and build on their experiences.” Her presentation summarized research that examines two key concepts related to experiential learning and action: engagement momentum and integrative learning. Two articles Dr. Neihaus authored or co-authored examine how these concepts inform students’ experience with alternative breaks:

Thanks to all presenters, planning committee members, and participants for making the 2017 Community Engagement Administrators Conference a successful event full of questions and new ideas! Special thanks to event sponsors:

International Volunteer Programs Association (IVPA)
Camp Restore (New Orleans & Detroit)
YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly (Black Mountain, NC)