Leadership Spotlight: Elyse Albrecht

Elyse Albrecht

Position: Graduate Advisor for the Center for Community Service

Hometown: Charleston, South Carolina

What is your role on ASB Exec?

I have the privilege of serving as the Graduate Advisor for the Center of Community Service and ASB.

What are you most looking forward to this year?

I am very excited about the variety of trips that Auburn students have the opportunity to experience this year! We have covered a variety of different issues and are venturing to new locations, so I cannot wait to see what these experiences have in store for ASB participants.

What made you do ASB in the first place?

Although ASB is included in my job description, I chose to participate in the program as an undergraduate and prior to beginning my assistantship with the Center for Community Service. As a junior at Auburn, I decided to participate in the spring break trip that worked with individuals with disabilities, because I wanted to have a positive effect on those in need during my spring break. I wanted to feel fulfilled and accomplished and I had heard so many wonderful things about the trip that took place before that I knew my college experience would not be complete if I did not partake in an ASB trip.

What trips have you participated in the past?

Individuals with Disabilities Spring 2010, Children with Terminal Illnesses Winter 2011, Community Development Spring 2012 in Costa Rica, Food Insecurity Winter 2012

Elyse in Costa Rica during Spring Break 2012

What is your favorite ASB memory?

Honestly I cannot pinpoint one ASB memory that has been my favorite. Every ASB experience that I have had has been incredible and has taught me so much about others and the importance of the fulfillment that is experienced when you give of yourself to others.

What is one thing you learned on an ASB trip?

Throughout my involvement with ASB both as a student and an advisor, I have learned that positively impacting those in need is one of the greatest joys in life. I have learned that I desire to continue to lead a service-minded life and be an active citizen in my community.

How has ASB impacted your college career? Has ASB changed your life trajectory?

Much like I said before, ASB has changed my life and made me realize the importance of working towards the greater good of mankind. It has encouraged me to continue down a career path that includes serving others and continuing to be an active citizen in the community!

 

Leadership Spotlight: Elyse Albrecht

Leadership Spotlight: Tim King

Tim King

Position: Coordinator for the Center for Community Service

Hometown: Jacksonville, Alabama

What is your role on ASB Exec?

I serve as the Coordinator for the Center for Community Service, so therefore serve as one of the advisors for the Alternative Student Breaks program.

What are you most looking forward to this year?

The actual experience of being on the trip with 15 students is what I am looking forward to the most. Each trip is so different from the last, but at the same time so similar. The students traveling on these trips have the same drive and passion to serve, but each team bonds and grows in their own unique way. It’s exciting to grow the ASB family each break!

What made you do ASB in the first place?

For me the whole experience started not long after I started working at Auburn in December 2007. When I started advising IMPACT, the Executive Officers had begun researching what alternative breaks programs looked like at other institutions. The following semester we made the decision to add an Executive Officer position that would coordinate this program. Little did we know that it would explode from there! We started with one trip, then three, then seven, and now we are up to ten trips. The whole thing has just blown me away and kept me loving my job every day. Knowing that students are so passionate about serving in other communities and about helping serve those suffering from various social issues in our world today is so invigorating. We are in our fourth year of the program and it has grown so much. Of course we have had our bumps along the way, but the students have taken this organization and made it what it is today!

What trips have you participated in the past?

I have participated in the inaugural trip on Spring Break 2009 to Charleston, South Carolina to work with Habitat for Humanity. I have also worked with Children with Disabilities in Orange Park, Florida; Community Development in Quito, Ecuador; Community Development in La Fortuna, Costa Rica; and Community Development in Santo Cristobal, Dominican Republic.

Tim in the Dominican Republic during Spring Break 2012

What is your favorite ASB memory?

I think my favorite memory and one that I will never forget is that very first trip and every single person that was there. That experience for me really solidified all the work we did leading up to it. All the stress, hoops we had to jump through, planning, and construction work was all worth it. The experience itself is so hard to describe. The group became like such a little family and we all cried when the week was over. None of us knew how much this program was going to affect us and how we existed. It made me so extremely excited about what we had just started at Auburn and still keeps me going to this day!

What is one thing you learned on an ASB trip?

I continually am reminded each time I go on a trip to not be so consumed with the material aspects of our society today and that they do not define my happiness. There are so many times I worry about not having certain things and I always have to remind myself of the experiences that I’ve had serving and how much they mean to me. There are so many in this world happier with less than what we have, so why should I be concerned with things that do not matter?

How has ASB impacted your college career? Has ASB changed your life trajectory?

Well, I have been out of college for a LONG time, but let’s now talk about that! I am back in school, but don’t think that counts! It has certainly lit a fire within me to continue my work in this specific area of the field of Higher Education. I love being able to work with college students and watch them develop. The opportunities that students have to develop while serving on an ASB trip are endless. When I see that experience forever change someone’s life course or the way they think, I am again reminded why I do exactly what I do!

Leadership Spotlight: Tim King

Leadership Spotlight: Kaitlin Harris

Kaitlin Harris

Position: Vice President of Finance

Class of 2013

Hometown: Dothan, AL

Major: Biomedical Science

Favorite Candy: Twix

What is your role on ASB Exec?

I am ASB’s VP of Finance so I am in charge of all the finances for ASB.

What are you most looking forward to this year?

I am looking forward to going on the Ecological Preservation Winter Break trip.

What made you do ASB in the first place?

I heard how great it was from a friend so I decided to apply for a trip.

What trips have you participated in the past?

Community Development Spring 2012 in Costa Rica and Community Development Spring 2011 in Costa Rica

Kaitlin working in Costa Rica during Spring Break 2012

What is your favorite ASB memory?

My favorite ASB memory is probably from this past spring break. We got to work in a small and very impoverished city in Costa Rica. Our group was helping build a recreational center for the kids of the town so they could have a safe place to go. It was really hard work mixing concrete by hand but I had the best time getting to know my group and the native Costa Ricans that were working with us. We got a lot accomplished while we were there and it was very exciting to see how much we got done and the difference that we made.

What is one thing you learned on an ASB trip?

ASB trips have taught me how great the Auburn family is. It is so amazing to see how all of the participants work together, and no matter how different we might be, by the end of trip we are like one big family.

How has ASB impacted your college career? Has ASB changed your life trajectory?

ASB has confirmed my love for helping people and given me more of a reason to enter the medical field.

 

Leadership Spotlight: Kaitlin Harris

Leadership Spotlight: Courtney Bessemer

Courtney Bessemer

Position: Vice President of Communications

Class of 2013

Hometown: Fort Lauderdale, FL

Favorite Holiday: Christmas

What is your role on ASB Exec?

As VP Communications, I am in charge of all of the publicity for ASB. I make all of the promotional materials, organize events like interest sessions, and update our social media accounts like Twitter and this blog.

What are you most looking forward to this year?

I love hearing about everyone’s trips when we return to campus. I think we always talk about how WE are giving but we get so much back from these trips, whether it is a life lesson, new friends, or fun memories. I think most participants are skeptical that they will form into a little ASB family but you truly bond on these trips and I love listening to everyone’s stories when they come back to Auburn.

What made you do ASB in the first place?

I heard about ASB from some friends and applied not really thinking too much of it. I thought the idea was really interesting and I had no idea what I was in for. I have made such wonderful friends and love our mission so much that I keep coming back for more.

What trips have you participated in the past?

Katrina’s Kids Spring 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana and People with Special Needs Spring 2012 in Argyle, Texas

Courtney at Camp Summit during Spring Break 2012

What is your favorite ASB memory?

I think one of my favorite ASB memories happened when I was in Texas last year working at Camp Summit. One of our campers complained all week that he did not want to be there but on the last day when he had to leave he started uncontrollably crying because he did not want to go. In that moment, I saw that I helped him have a fun week without limitations and I knew that every ounce of hard work was worth it.

What is one thing you learned on an ASB trip?

I have learned that everyone single person has something to offer. We can learn from each person we encounter in life. We are all blessed in different ways; it may be material things, intelligence, or a warm and loving personality. I think it is our responsibility to share our blessings with one another if we want to make our communities better.

How has ASB impacted your college career? Has ASB changed your life trajectory?

I think ASB has made me really think about my priorities and what is important in life. It made me think about volunteering more while I have been at Auburn and made me realize I want a career that involves giving as much as I can to make my world a better one.

Leadership Spotlight: Courtney Bessemer

Leadership Spotlight: Becca Menke

Becca Menke

Position: Spring Break Site Leader for Rural Poverty in Appalachia in Cranks Creek, Kentucky

Class of 2014

Hometown: Nashville, TN

Major: Math, Spanish Minor

Favorite Song: Africa by Toto

Why did you choose your trip issue?

I chose the issue of Rural Poverty because I think it is something that is often overlooked in America. People do not realize that we have neighbors in our own backyard who are living in conditions that most would think impossible in a developed country like ours. Appalachia, as the poorest area of the country, presents a great opportunity for us to learn about the lifestyles and challenges faced by people living in rural poverty and to help them improve their standard of living.

What are you most looking forward to on your trip?

I am really looking forward to meeting the people who run the organization where we will be working. After getting to know them a little through planning the trip, they sound like great people who really put their heart and soul into the work they do for the people of the community.

What made you do ASB in the first place?

Having spent previous spring breaks on service trips like ASB and others vacationing at the beach, it was really easy for me to realize which I preferred. Giving up a school holiday is ultimately so much more fulfilling and memorable and just as much fun, if not more! I was looking for a meaningful way to spend my break, meeting new people, and doing something worthwhile, and I definitely found that in ASB.

What trips have you participated in the past?

Ecological Preservation Spring Break 2012 in the Everglades, Florida

What is your favorite ASB memory?

My favorite ASB memory are from a game we played every single night of our trip called “Fishbowl.” We would sit on our porch and play for hours, getting to know each other and laughing about the crazy situations we had found ourselves in during the day’s work and the most interesting and entertaining people we had the opportunity of working with.

Becca in the Everglades during Spring Break 2012

What is one thing you learned on an ASB trip?

I learned that people can surprise you! My group was made up of the most different people you could imagine, people whose paths probably would have never crossed if not for ASB. However, by the end of week it was if we had known each other forever.

How has ASB impacted your college career? Has ASB changed your life trajectory?

ASB has really opened my eyes to lots of different issues, especially being a site leader this year and seeing all the great trips that are being planned. It has helped me learn to work with people from all different backgrounds and given me some of my favorite memories from college so far. ASB has helped me realize how lucky I really am and helped me make a commitment to always including service to others as a part of my life.

 

Leadership Spotlight: Becca Menke

Leadership Spotlight: Allison McKinley

Allison McKinley

Position: Spring Break Site Leader for Social Advocacy in Apopka, Florida

Class of 2014

Hometown: Milwaukee, WI

Major: Nutrition and Marketing

Starbucks or Caribou: STARBUCKS

Why did you choose your trip issue?

I chose my trip issue because I thought it was an important issue that often gets overlooked when dealing with volunteer problems. I did not know much about the issue but once I looked into it through the site, I thought it was extremely interesting and wanted to learn more.

What are you most looking forward to on your trip?

I am most looking forward to working and living with the local farmers in the area throughout the week. I think having the chance to live with these workers will really make the experience unique and help us all break out of our comfort zones.

What made you do ASB in the first place?

I did a lot of volunteering at home in high school and wanted to find a way to take that experience and use it on Auburn’s campus. I looked into the program online and could not wait to sign up!

What trips have you participated in the past?

Affordable Housing Spring 2012 to Punta Gorda, Florida

Allison (on right) in Punta Gorda during Winter Break 2011

What is your favorite ASB memory?

My favorite ASB memory was our eight-hour drive to Punta Gorda because that is when we all started to bond and we made some great memories rocking out to Flo Rida in our Tahoes. When you are stuck in a car with people you do not know, it makes for a great environment to make some friends and jokes you can laugh about for the rest of the week.

What is one thing you learned on an ASB trip?

One thing I learned on ASB was that every job you do while on your trip makes an impact in someone’s life, whether or not you can personally see it. The volunteer power you have really does make a difference and it is so exciting to see your hard work change an individual’s of family’s lives for the better.

How has ASB impacted your college career? Has ASB changed your life trajectory?

ASB has helped me branch out and meet so many new and different people on Auburn’s campus. I am so grateful I was able to meet the people I did on my past trip and cannot wait to meet more on my upcoming trip in the spring. I really think it has impacted my college experience by helping me break out of my comfortable circle and make some great friends I would have normally never met!

Leadership Spotlight: Allison McKinley

Leadership Spotlight: Brianne Arps and Nic Ellison

Learn about our Spring Break Site Leaders for Community Development in the Dominican Republic, Brianne and Nic:

Brianne Arps

Position: Spring Break Site Leader for Class of 2014

Hometown: Plano, TX

Major: Elementary Education

Starbucks or Caribou: Starbucks

Nic Ellison

Class of 2015

Hometown: Tuscumbia, AL

Major: Pre-Pharmacy

Crunchy or Creamy Peanut Butter: Crunchy

Why did you choose your trip issue?

Brianne: One of the problems short-term service trips face is the fact that we are there for such a short amount of time you worry if the service you put in throughout the week will have a lasting impact. With community development, you are helping to give the community the resources and encouragement to continue developing after we leave. We are giving that community a helpful push towards a progressive and lasting development on their own.

Nic: I chose to be an international site leader for the Dominican Republic because I have a strong passion for foreign service trips. There are people in the Dominican in dire need of medical attention, and we will be able to put on a few clinics to help those people.

What are you most looking forward to on your trip?

Brianne: I am most looking forward to forming relationships with the participants on my trip as well as the people we will meet in the Dominican Republic.

Nic: Since I had the opportunity of going to the Dominican last year, I am really looking forward to seeing all of the people I got to know over last spring break.

What made you do ASB in the first place?

Brianne: At the end of my freshmen year looking back at my first year of college, I realized that I had not done anything of true significance. I had worked hard in class and made new friendships, but I had not done anything to give back. My year had been focused on me so I decided to do ASB my sophomore year in order to be able to start doing something outside myself that truly mattered.

Nic: The Vice President of International Affairs last year was my peer advisor for the College of Sciences and Mathematics, and she recommended that I apply for a trip. Without her, I would have never experienced all the awesome things ASB offers.

Brianne in Costa Rica during Spring Break 2012

What trips have you participated in the past?

Brianne: Community Development Spring 2012 to Costa Rica

Nic: Community Development Spring 2012 in the Dominican Republic

What is your favorite ASB memory?

Brianne:My favorite ASB memory was talking to three of the local school children in Costa Rica. I spent an hour communicating with them in Spanglish, them using the English they had used in school and I the Spanish. I told them I wanted to be a teacher and they taught me songs that they sang to their teacher every day. By the end of the conversation, they told me they wanted me to come back and be their teacher. I knew then that it would not be the last time I was there.

Nic: Seeing the faces of the people of the community after we finished cleaning up their park was my favorite ASB moment. It took us the entire week to do, and they were so grateful once it was complete.

Nic in the Dominican Republic during Spring Break 2012

What is one thing you learned on an ASB trip?

Brianne: I learned on my trip the value of teamwork. Yes, this sounds completely cliché. However, when you are placed in another culture with a group of people you just met, everyone’s unique qualities are forced to shine through. You are able to see how different strengths work together. Our group stayed incredibly positive the whole time, and we became a team.

Nic: One can learn the most from someone else’s differences.

How has ASB impacted your college career? Has ASB changed your life trajectory?

Brianne: ASB has changed my life trajectory. My trip to Costa Rica last year helped me to fully realize my passion for serving others. I got to experience first hand how much I truly love serving abroad. I realized I want to spend several years after graduation abroad teaching and serving in an international community.

Nic: I want to become part of the medical field as a pharmacist, and ASB has confirmed my desire to go overseas and help those who otherwise would not receive any healthcare. ASB has improved my career plans by giving me the desire to want to spend a month or so out of the country helping in hospitals and medical clinics that are in desperate need of assistance.

Leadership Spotlight: Brianne Arps and Nic Ellison