During breaks in the academic year, BGSU offers BG Alternative Breaks, which is a program for students to take part in. According to the university’s official website, bGAB “is a student-led program within the Center for Public Impact that prepares groups of students to collaborate with communities experiencing social injustices by learning about, providing direct service for, and reflecting on a specific social issue during BGSU academic breaks.”
Abby Maggi, Nate Halm and Madi Stump are three students serving in leadership positions for bGAB this academic year. They summarized bGAB’s goal as a way for BGSU students a way to give back to the community as well as teach students about different social issues. It aims to teach social justice and thoughtful engagement, as well as give students an experience they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.
“The Center for Public Impact … prepares groups of students to collaborate with communities experiencing social injustices by learning about, providing direct service for, and reflecting on a specific social issue during BGSU academic breaks. Trips currently go out during winter, spring and weekend breaks,” Stump said.
Maggi and Halm added that the public impact and service are the driving forces behind bGAB.
Maggi thoroughly enjoyed her experience with bGAB during her freshman year and wanted to continue her involvement.
“My bGAB trip last year was the best week of my freshman year, and I knew that I absolutely wanted to be involved with bGAB again. I believe that serving others is one of the most fulfilling things to do. Last year I went to Woodland Harvest Mountain Farm in Boone, North Carolina. We learned more about sustainability and permaculture and ways to pass on education. This trip taught me the importance of myself, of community and of the ground we live on,” Maggi said.
Halm became a site leader for bGAB because he wanted to give others the same access to opportunity he received during his freshman year through bGAB.
“I wanted to lead a bGAB trip because my trip last year was so influential to me that I wanted to facilitate and pass that same, if not better, experience on to this new group of participants. My favorite trip thus far was last year's winter session trip to Richmond, VA in which we assisted the International Rescue Committee in their efforts to resettle refugees in the Richmond community,” he said.
Stump values the connections and lessons she had learned through her experience with bGAB.
“I joined the bGAB leadership team to grow our program and increase the participation in alternative breaks. I believe in the power of transformative experiences, especially those that we offer. My life has changed on alternative breaks and I want to share that with others … My favorite alternative break is at Woodland Harvest Mountain Farm, a permaculture sustainability farm in Boone, North Carolina. We learn about sustainable living and ways to connect to the land. I have created such a strong connection to the Farm that one of the women that runs and lives on the farm is officiating my fiancé and I’s wedding in May!” Stump said.
The bGAB tab on the BGSU website under Center for Public Impact and Programs & Partnerships has information on their upcoming trips and how to become a part of bGAB.