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Alternative Breaks @ Stanford

Spring 2017 ASB students along the Carmel River

The Alternative Spring Break program (part of Stanford Cardinal Service) exposes students to complex social and cultural issues through community visits, experiential learning, direct service, group discussion, readings, and reflection activities during Spring Break. The program's vision is to transform students into advocates of social change on issues affecting our communities. 

Visit the Alternative Breaks @ Stanford website to learn more.

The Bill Lane Center is pleased to help support student organizers of Alternative Spring Break focused on the American West as we did in 2017.

2017 "Environmental Policy in California"

In 2017, the Center helped sponsor its first Alternative Spring Break, Environmental Policy in California. The course was co-led by Elizabeth Trinh and Matthew Cohen, a participant in the Center's 2015 Energy in the Southwest Sophomore College. 

During Winter Quarter 2017, 12 students spent their spring break exploring environmental challenges and policy solutions in California. With an emphasis on climate change adaptation and mitigation, student participants examined local, state and federal environmental policies. 

In preparation for the trip, participants took a specialized winter 1-unit course facilitated by trip leaders Elizabeth Trinh and Matthew Cohen and faculty advisor Bruce Cain. Students were introduced to what water and energy policy looks like at the state level in California. During the course, students studied environmental justice, and specifically, how climate change impacts Indigenous communities in California and how the state is mitigating the impact.

In March, students took a road trip across Northern California. Starting at Stanford, students headed down the coast to the Monterey Peninsula, cut over through Bakersfield to the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and even spent a night in Yosemite. Along the way, students visited various power plants, participated in a beach clean-up, and learned about conservation in a national park. The trip concluded with a day of meeting with policymakers in Sacramento.

Check out trip participants’ experiences on the Out West blog.

Interested in leading your own ASB?

The Bill Lane Center is pleased to help support student organizers of Alternative Spring Break (ASB) focused on the American West. Find out more about the ASB program.

If you're interested in partnering with us on a potential Alternative Spring Break, contact Education Manager Corinne Thomas at CorinneThomas [at]