We are very excited to work with these groups in planning their engagement projects this year. Please read below and continue to check back with these ongoing projects.

Supported Winter Break Civic Engagement Projects

Engineers Without Borders

Obodan, Ghana
January 2nd - 19th, 2014
Michael Escobar

EWB has worked with Obodan since 2005 developing sanitation and water access solutions. This trip will be returning to monitor the water storage and distribution systems put in place during the Summer 2013 visit. EWB will be assessing the sustainability of their project while also gauging possibilities for another project to be initiated in Obodan.

Engineers Without Borders

Aboiboi, Angole, Sugur, Okidi communities in Soroti, Uganda
January 2nd - 19th, 2014
Will Van Noppen, Halvard Lange

EWB's Uganda program will be implementing a Multi-function Energy Platform (MFP) pilot program in January. Working with Pilgrim, a Ugandan NGO, EWB has set up eight MFPs in eight different communities in the Soroti district since 2009, and will continue the relationship with this latest implementation. MFPs are mechanized farming approaches to increase community access to affordable energy and thus increases food security.

Engineers Without Borders

Ait Bayoud, Morocco
January 4th - 18th, 2014
Tim Weber, Andrew Sumner

EWB will be implementing an efficient water distribution system in the small neighborhood of Izgaouaren. The system will provide a reliable and sustainable source of water to the community, which is 350 feet above the nearby river. During this trip, EWB will work with various local authorities and organizations to design the distribution system.

Supported Spring Break Civic Engagement Projects

Gender Equality: Ecuador (GEQUA)

Picalqui, Ecuador
March 14th - 23rd, 2014
Bianca Capone, Reyna Pacheco

GEQUA will return to Ecuador, this time working with La Fundación Brethen y Unida (FBU) to find economic alternatives to the rose plantations which employ the indigenous women from the nearby town of Cayambe. Because the roses are grown using dangerous chemicals in Ecuador, the female workers become ill after 3-5 years of employment, sometimes developing cancer or becoming infertile. GEQUA will contribute to various sustainable projects for the town, such as organizing child care centers and promoting organic farming so the women can become more self-sufficient. In previous years, GEQUA has helped implement an irrigation system and donated computers to a Technology Center where the local women and childen could learn to use technology for schooling and job searching.

Habitat for Humanity

Lafayette, Louisiana
March 15th - 22nd, 2014
Julia Peck

Columbia's HFH chapter will be revisiting Lafayette to volunteer its time and efforts to building homes. They will connect with local chapters and high school students to re-activate the high school's Habitat chapter, while also learning more about the complex politics and history surrounding Lafayette's housing problems.


East Nassau, Bahamas
March 15th - 22nd, 2014
Yoon-Ji Nam and Shalni Pawa

Rotaract at Columbia will work with Project Read to spread the use of the Computer-Assisted Literacy Solution (CALS) program to fight illiteracy in the Nassau region.

Caribbean Students' Association

Dennery, St. Lucia
March 15th - 23rd, 2014
Sashanni Rose, Gabriella Aitcheson

CSA will continue its There is Hope campaign to encourage lasting academic engagement for secondary school-aged students. Previous trips to various Caribbean islands have proven successful in fulfilling the There is Hope mission statement, and the St. Lucia trip aspires to continue developing a critical consciousness for Caribbean school children.

Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards (SAMS)

Appalachia, Virginia
March 15th - 23rd, 2014
Deborah Secular, Daniel Bergerson

The team will travel to rural Southern Virginia to perform water quality testing in watersheds affected by pollution from coal mining operations such as mountaintop removal. The data collected will help ongoing citizen efforts to use existing federal water quality laws to prevent the permitting of new mines. They will meet members of the community in Appalachia, Virginia and learn how their lives have been affected by the mining operations that surround their community.

Supported Summer Break Civic Engagement Projects


May 19th - 30th, 2014
Sarah Green, Ahana Maken

Columbia-Barnard's buildOn project this year is "Trek for Knowledge," for which the participants will raise funds to help build a primary school in rural Senegal and serve as cultural ambassadors who will help promote literacy in the country.

Unite for Sight

Accra, Ghana
May 24th - June 2nd, 2014
Alexandra Castillejos, Deandrea Ellis

Columbia's chapter of Unite for Sight will work with Ghanian ophthalmologists to provide quality eye care and sanitary services to impoverished areas of Accra. The team will explore the health infrastructure of Ghana and aims to begin the conversation of global health for Yale's annual Global Health and Innovation Conference next year.


Gulu, Uganda
TBD in June
Diane Wang, Mariko Kanai

The current project, initiated by last year's GROW (Grassroots On-site Work) members, will assess service previously implemented by GlobeMed. The team will also be raising HIV awareness and sensitization; promoting maternal and newborn health; and supporting nearby health facilities with equipment. The campaigns have been in place in Gulu over the course of the last year, and GlobeMed's team will be evaluating the progress and reassessing the needs of the local community. For more information and to learn about their past projects, check out GlobeMed's Columbia Chapter website and their WordPress blog.


Shanghai & Beijing, China
July 10th - August 15th, 2014
Shen Qiu and Qiuyun Tan

The 32 participants will work with the Columbia Global Center to plan Western literature seminars--modeled after Columbia's Literature Humanities course--for Chinese high school and college students. The education system in China is very rigid and science-focused, and Symposium hopes to expose the students to classes structured around discussion and critical thinking. They will report their experiences  next fall in a panel to be co-sponsored by Core Office, Weatherhead East Asian Institute, and Teachers College.

Global Youth Mentorship Initiative (GYMI)

Quzhou, Zhejiang, China; Lu An, Anhui, China; Zi Gong, Sichuan, China
TBD (late July)
Christine Wang, Xiaomeng Luo

The organization has selected three schools in rural areas of China where the regimented curriculum leaves little opportunity for extracurricular pursuits. The members will provide mentorship to the students in hopes of addressing the educational gap between schools with many resources and those with fewer. GYMI aims to teach technological and artistic skills to the students during their stay, and implement an online mentoring system to continue their influence after the trip ends.


Zuni Pueblo, Pine Hill, To'hajiilee, Isleta Pueblo, New Mexico
July 26th - August 10th, 2014
Danielle Lucero

AlterNATIVE Education is the first peer-education and mentorship initiative aimed at bridging the gap between Native American high school students and us as Native College students (80% of AlterNATIVE Facilitators were Native in its pilot year).We have developed a week-long curriculum aimed at engaging students with Native histories, Native governments, Native arts and Native current events, topics that are not talked about often enough in the classroom; empowering Native students as community members, as individuals, as agents of change; and finally, encouraging Native students to seriously consider pursuing higher education through long-term mentorship.
In the summer of 2013 AlterNATIVE Education had the opportunity to take that curriculum into the classroom. We piloted the program on four Native American Reservations in New Mexico. The week long program will take places at 5 sites over two weeks. The sites are Zuni Pueblo and Pine Hill and Farmington during week one and To’hajiilee and
Isleta Pueblo during week two.

Alternative Break Program


515 Alfred Lerner Hall
2920 Broadway
New York, NY 10027

Call: 212-854-1371

Fax: 212-854-6972

9:00 a.m.–5:00p.m.