Keene State College has decided to suspend all alternative break travel until further notice because of COVID-19 travel restrictions.
Alternative break, sponsored by the Community Service Office at KSC, lasts three to 10 days and consists of both domestic and international service-based trips. Trips take place during winter, spring and summer breaks, as well as some weekends throughout the academic year. According to the KSC website, “students travel in teams, take part in service projects that address unmet community needs, gain awareness of critical social issues, enhance their individual growth and prepare for lives of active citizenship.”
Jessica Gagne Cloutier, the Coordinator of Community Service at KSC, said that the pandemic has altered almost all of their plans entirely. “We did not travel this fall, and we will not travel in January or March. This decision takes into consideration Keene State’s spring calendar, testing schedules and the safety of our students’ local and host communities,” said Cloutier. The Alternative Break program is committed to the eight components of a Quality Alternative Break, the components include; strong direct service, full engagement, diversity and social justice, orientation, education, training, reflection and reorientation.
“I am currently working with Alternative Break team leaders to determine other ways to live our mission. We are hoping to offer a hyper-local program in the spring that allows KSC students to experience the learning outcomes of the Alternative Break program,” said Cloutier. “While this year will be very different for Alternative Break, we’re looking forward to a time we can safely return to travel. As we did in Spring 2020, we will plan and prepare in Spring 2021 to ensure we are ready to engage KSC in meaningful service and learning trips as soon as possible.”
Despite encountering a very large obstacle, Cloutier said that she thinks the Alternative Break program is adaptable and will find their rhythm in these uncertain times. Keep an eye on KSC’s website for updates on future alternative break travel and for more information about KSC’s Alternative Break program, contact Jessica Gagne Cloutier.
Victoria Miles can be contacted at