By Liza Thompson ‘21

Lafayette’s Alternative School Break (ASB) is a club that travels to serve other communities during the College’s January winter and March spring breaks (with the exception of March 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.)

The club began in 1993 when a group of students wanted to travel to Florida to help victims of Hurricane Hugo. However, a snowstorm prevented the students from traveling. They decided they would still find a way to give back, so they planned a trip to Honduras the following spring. They cleaned community buildings and painted rooms at an orphanage. Since then, the club has expanded on campus; there were three community service ASB trips in January and two planned for March, which were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A group of ASB alumni returned to campus in February to describe how ASB has influenced their lives since graduating from Lafayette. Here are some insights the panelists shared with current ASB members:

 

Alec Eidelman ’13

Alec Eidelman ’13

  • Alec Eidelman ’13, who studied biochemistry, currently works for Cambridge Health Alliance. During his time at Lafayette, he went on ASB trips to Boston and Costa Rica. “One of the things that really stuck out to me about my trip was the emphasis on community, whether it was our community as the ASB club or the community that we were able to be a part of for a week,” Eidelman said. “Before going on the ASB trip itself, we really worked on learning about their culture and community so that when we got there we were really able to hit the ground running.”
Jiselle Peralta ’13

Jiselle Peralta ’13

  • Jiselle Peralta ’13, who studied psychology and women and gender studies, is now a teacher, and went on ASB trips to serve communities impacted by Hurricane Sandy and the Haiti earthquake. “My two ASB experiences helped me become what I am today, which is a teacher,” Peralta said. “My love for travel and giving back that I experienced from ASB definitely set the tone for the rest of my life. After graduating I wanted to find a way to serve my community, and I could not think of a better way than teaching.”

 

Eamon Campolettano

Eamon Campolettano ’15

  • Eamon Campolettano ’15, who studied mechanical engineering, is currently an associate at Exponent. He participated in a Hurricane Sandy relief trip to New Jersey. “The biggest takeaway from my experience with ASB was the aspect of teamwork,” Campolettano said. “None of the Lafayette students I went with had any previous experience with something like ASB, so it was a lot of setting aside our egos in order to be fully present to listen to someone else. If a team is not all in it can be really easy to fail, and so we all had to be 100% in it, which is a skill I have carried with me to this day. My new job is a lot of constantly forming new teams and being able to work with that team in order to meet the deadline, and I learned a lot about how to do that from my time with ASB.”

 

Abby Williams '15

Abby Williams ’15

  • Abby Williams ’15, who studied neuroscience and policy studies, is currently a People Strategy Consultant at Suvoda. She went on three ASB trips serving as a trip leader, education chair, and then president of the club. “Much of what I learned from ASB was how to interact with different people and cultures,” Williams said. “I plan to move to Tokyo, so I believe that I will be drawing from those experiences with ASB a lot as I take this leap to a completely new country.”
Categorized in: Alumni, Campus life, Community, Community-Based Learning and Research, Connected Communities, Featured News, News and Features

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