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Liberal Studies Alternative Breaks

Raised toward our $4,000 Goal
12 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on March 15, at 11:55 PM EDT
Project Owners

Liberal Studies Alternative Breaks


The LS Alternative Breaks (LSAB) program provides students with the opportunity to learn about political and social community dynamics while becoming a catalyst for collaborative change. Through both learning and practice, students explore the integration of service, education, and reflection to enact change. A cohort of LS students meets throughout the academic year, and visits either an international or domestic location each spring semester to undertake a project relevant for that community.


This spring two groups of students will be partnering with organizations in Antigua, Guatemala and in Detroit and Flint, Michigan to serve the local communities. Engaging in service and dialogue within the global community is part of the very DNA of Liberal Studies and NYU. One of NYU's founding values was to serve the city that the University first called home. The iconic NYU torch is an ode to the Statue of Liberty and NYU's commitment to serve New York City. Now with over 13 global academic centers, including two degree-granting campuses all outside of New York City, NYU strives to be a University that is not just in and of the city of New York, but a University that is in and of the world, serving local communities across the globe. LS Alternative Breaks is one practical way for NYU students to live out this core value of learning from and serving local communities both near and far from the Square. 


The total estimated costs for both trips is $14,500. Our goal is to raise at least $4,000 to meet the most basic accommodation costs, and then if at all possible, to shoot for a stretch goal that more robustly alleviates the costs for each student. Bonus* = Dean Mostov has committed to match the first $1,000 raised!! 


Antigua, Guatemala

Partner: From Houses to Homes

In Guatemala, LSAB students will be partnering with From Houses to Homes to build houses for two families. Students work within indigenous communities to replace makeshift shacks with dirt floors with a durable and affordable 13 by 19 foot cinder block home that brings not just security and safety, but also the pride of home ownership to its family. 

In addition to providing a new home, From Houses to Homes provides all families with both healthcare and education for their children, laying the foundations to eliminate poverty for families within a single generation. Students will join From Houses to Homes to learn more about their healthcare and education initiatives in addition to supporting the homebuilding process.



2019 Team Guatemala

Over spring break, 11 students and two staff members will travel to Antigua, including LS student, Caryolyn Vaca:

"Hi, my name is Carolyn Vaca and I am a first year at NYU in the Liberal Studies Core. I plan to transfer into Global Liberal Studies to study politics, rights and development and minor in Middle Eastern & Islamic Studies. I joined Alternative Breaks because I have a strong passion for service along with other languages and cultures. The Alternative Breaks program allows me to merge these two passions with a group of people who want to make a difference in other communities as well!"



Detroit, Michigan

Partner: Detroit Blight Busters

Flint, Michigan

Partner: Food Bank of Eastern Michigan

In Michigan, LSAB students will spend half their time working with Detroit Blight Busters on revitalization and beautification projects. Critically, the organization works to demolish blighted homes but also to refurbish and build new ones, bringing change via local community action where government has been ineffective. Students work with Detroit Blight Busters on initiatives rooted in revitalization, sustainability, the arts, neighborhood programming, and community-building.


Students will spend the rest of their time serving with the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan in Flint, where they will support the Food Bank in their mission to lessen poverty through increasing access to nutritious meals. 

"It’s the hope and the love and the attachment they [Detroit Blight Busters] have to this community and you can see it through the people who actually run Blight Busters and how much devotion they have to making this community shine again...They’re amazing people who do so much for this community and in the end they don’t expect anything back."

–Ghania, LS student participant from the 2018 trip to Michigan


2019 Team Michigan

Over spring break, five students and two staff leaders will serve Flint and Detroit, Michigan, including LS student, Geolie Cayme:

"Hi, I'm Geolie, a sophomore in GLS with a concentration in Politics, Rights, and Development. My trip to Michigan with Alternative Breaks provides hands-on experience through service and a first hand observation on current events in America. I wanted to join Alternative Breaks because it's a great way to apply what we learn in the classroom to the real world and to benefit others in a community different from my own." 

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Bobcat Builder

Did you know? The bobcat is a member of the lynx family.


Detroit Donor

Detroit is the only city in the U.S. where you can look South at Canada!


Guatemala Gifter

The currency of Guatemala, the Guatemalan Quetzal, is named after its national bird, the resplendent quetzal.


Flint Friend

Although General Motors is headquartered in Detroit, it was actually founded in Flint in 1908.


Antigua Advocate

The 1935 film "The New Adventures of Tarzan" was shot in Antigua, Guatemala.


Community Champion

The tallest structure built with interlocking plastic bricks (aka LEGOs) was over 114 feet, used an estimated 550,000 bricks, and took 5 days to build.



The NYU logo, the upheld torch, is derived from the Statue of Liberty, signifying NYU's service to New York City. As NYU has expanded, we hope to carry that vision of service to all of the cities we touch.

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