Badger Breaks returns for health and rights


Max Van Wie

Kelsey Magee

Badger Alternative Breaks will once again afford students the opportunity to travel and serve in  different parts of the country, and sometimes abroad, to volunteer and work with others on a particular social problem. The focus of these alternative breaks for this year are focusing on disaster relief, human rights, health issues, and hunger issues.
“These are obviously really broad issues so each trip has a narrower focus,” said Kelsey Magee, the co-chair representative for the Badger Alternative Break club.

The disaster relief trip’s focus will be on refugees and how they are affected by both natural and human caused disasters. The group will help refugees adjust to living in the United States after being moved from their country.

Participants in the human rights trip will work with youth within the LGBTQ+ community. There are many young adults who identify themselves as part of the LGBTQ+ community that are not accepted by families or the community they live in. This can cause problems like homelessness or depression. This group will be going to work with these individuals to show support in a safe place where they can be accepted.

Health issues will be the focus for the third trip. This year participants will concentrate on victims of torture. “It’s going to be a lot of mental health focus and working with rehabilitation of people that have been in these terrible situations,” said Magee.

Hunger and food insecurity can be seen as a national problem in the United States, and the last trip will be helping out with tackling these problems. The accessibility and affordability of food can be very difficult for people in urban areas and food deserts. The group will be working on farms to get a better understanding of how to contribute to the families in need.

A specific goal the Badger Alternative Break club wants to achieve with their members is to get them to connect more to the trip and find enjoyment in volunteering and helping out. In order to do this, the locations of the trips are withheld from the participants for a few weeks after joining the club. “The most important thing for us is that people are going on a trip that they are passionate about,” said Magee.

She noted it should be more about the focus and issue of the particular trip than where they could possibly spend their spring break. Their goal is to get people to connect to the trip and want to come back to Johnson and do more.

Currently, the members are going through applications to let new members join. The new members go through group activities to see how they interact in a group before they are chosen into each focus group and told where they will be going. As of right now, they plan on revealing the locations towards the end of September.

In the past, the focus groups have traveled to many places within the United States and abroad, including Vietnam, Jamaica, and Nicaragua.

The deadline for applications for this spring break has passed, but Magee said they have been known to open the process back up.