Sept. 30, 2019

COLUMBIA, Mo. – The student-led organization Mizzou Alternative Breaks has completed service trips in all of Missouri’s 114 counties — one year ahead of schedule. To keep the momentum going, MU officials announced that MU Extension has committed $10,350 to Mizzou Alternative Breaks to provide scholarships for 90 students with financial need to participate in statewide service trips.

“Mizzou Alternative Breaks has a long history of sending passionate, service-minded students all over the world to serve,” said Marshall Stewart, vice chancellor for extension and engagement at MU. “They bring that same passion in their work giving back to the state of Missouri as shown by the fact they met their statewide goal ahead of schedule.”

Marshall Stewart, vice chancellor for extension and engagement at MU, announced that MU Extension has comitted more than $10,000 to Mizzou Alternative Breaks to provide scholarships for 90 students.

Marshall Stewart, vice chancellor for extension and engagement at MU, announced that MU Extension has comitted more than $10,000 to Mizzou Alternative Breaks to provide scholarships for 90 students.

In 2014, Mizzou Alternative Breaks announced a partnership with MU Extension and pledged to bring service trips to all of Missouri’s 114 counties and the city of St. Louis by 2020. They met the goal in March 2019 with a service trip to Linn County. Service trips included:

  • Working at the Ronald McDonald House in Greene County.
  • Completing conservation projects in Mark Twain State Park.
  • Serving at the Humane Society in Cape Girardeau.
  • Providing health assistance in Butler and Chariton counties.

In 2018, MU Chancellor Alexander N. Cartwright announced a new vision for university extension and engagement to fulfill what he referred to as an “all things Missouri” mission focusing on three grand challenges facing Missouri: economic opportunity, educational access and excellence and health and well-being. Stewart believes the partnership with Mizzou Alternative Breaks is crucial to fulfilling this mission.

“Our focus is deepening the university’s value to the people of Missouri from Sikeston to Maryville,” Stewart said. “There are no better ambassadors to help us fulfill this mission than the students of the state’s flagship university. MU Extension is committed to increasing the number of students performing community service in Missouri. Through our partnership our new goal is to have 2,500 students participating in statewide service trips by 2030.”

Mizzou Alternative Breaks student leaders post for a portrait with their future goals during the celebration of hitting their goal to serve all 114 Missouri counties one year ahead of schedule.

Mizzou Alternative Breaks student leaders post for a portrait with their future goals during the celebration of hitting their goal to serve all 114 Missouri counties one year ahead of schedule.

In addition to the new scholarship program, MU Extension will sponsor Thanksgiving Mizzou Alternative Breaks experiences in St. Louis, Kansas City and Springfield to encourage students to serve in partnership with MU Extension in their hometowns during the Thanksgiving break.

“We are so excited that our partnership with MU Extension has been such a success,” said Bailey Washer, a student leader with Mizzou Alternative Breaks. “The weekend service trips give us an opportunity to learn more about Missouri, serve communities throughout the state and provide just another example of why we are the University for Missouri.”

Since the partnership began, Mizzou Alternative Breaks has completed 191 service trips in the state, serving more than 27,300 hours. More than 1,700 students have served throughout Missouri as part of the MAB weekend program. Service projects have included work with county health departments, youth organizations, conservation groups, animal shelters, nursing homes and restoring homes with Habitat for Humanity.

In recent years Mizzou Alternative Breaks has had several accomplishments to celebrate. In 2013, students with Mizzou Alternative Breaks reached out to schools across the SEC to broaden the work of the alternative breaks programs. This conversation resulted in the Mizzou leaders founding the SEC Compact along with the University of Kentucky, University of Florida, University of South Carolina and Auburn University. In 2015, Mizzou Alternative Breaks became the largest alternative break program in the United States.

Founded in 1991, Mizzou Alternative Breaks is part of the Office of Student Engagement.

Story contact: Sheena Rice, ricesm@missouri.edu, 573-882-8353