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- Chapter Type
- Program Name
- Branch Out alternative breaks
- Date Established
- Mar 01, 2002
- As a way of building a global community post-9/11, students planned a trip to work with Habitat for Humanity's Global Village Project with support from W&M's Office of Student Volunteer Services (OSVS). A boom in international service trips (as they were then known) resulted, with more than a dozen trips launching each year.
Around 2005, domestic service trips were initiated by the OSVS, growing to eight per year by 2008. A group of students known as the Community Service Leaders also supported occasional weekend service projects.
In 2009, students and staff came together to bring all programs into one coherent program, Branch Out alternative breaks, as part of the Office of Community Engagement (formerly OSVS). Three branches: regional, national, and international were developed to be led by two student directors each. At this time, each of the programs also transitioned from a service trip model to an alternative breaks model, marked by student leadership, development of active citizenship, and commitment to the 8 Components of quality alternative breaks.
In 2016, Branch Out reorganized our leadership structure, with six Coordinators on our non-hierarchical executive board. Positions are Education Coordinators, Site Coordinators, and Development Coordinators, all working in pairs. Branch Out's student directors (known as the Trunk, thanks to our love of tree-related puns) are responsible for developing and implementing the vision of alternative breaks at W&M: to create a community of active, educated individuals dedicated to the pursuit of social justice.
Williamsburg, VA 23187