Service Learning on Spring Break

Each winter semester students spend 15 weeks addressing local and national community-based issues and needs and developing leadership, problem-solving and practical skills related to managing community service projects. The course integrates classroom learning with community service. Students complete numerous local service learning projects and spend one week in an area that has experienced a recent natural disaster.

The experience provides insight into how effective organizational practices can make a substantive contribution to addressing human needs. The experience and skills gained in this course will benefit students who will pursue careers in the nonprofit community service sector.

For information on upcoming the next SPNHA-sponsored alternative spring break, contact Quincy Williams.

For other GVSU sponsored alternative spring break, see Alternative Breaks.


2020: Philadelphia, PA

Group Student Photo, Service Learning on Spring Break 2020

The 2020 Spring Break Service Learning Trip focused on the issues of poverty and homelessness in Philadelphia. Students participated in community cleanup, serving food to those in need and much more!


Project Home

A Look Inside: Students Leaving a Mark 2020

SLAM participant and GVSU student Jordan Skutar compiled footage from the 2020 Spring Break trip and turned it into a short documentary!

View the video on

2019: Fayetteville, NC

Fayetteville, North Carolina SLAM Event

Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina on the morning of September 14, 2018. Fayetteville, NC suffered from 22 billion dollars worth of damage making the storm the state's greatest natural disaster in history.

Partner:  North Carolina United Methodist Disaster Recovery

2018: San Juan, Puerto Rico

San Juan, Puerto Rico SLAM Event

Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017. The storm passed around 25 miles away from San Juan - the nation's capital - causing widespread flooding, destruction to homes, and a complete loss of electricity.

Partner:  St. Bernard Project

2018: Houston, TX

Houston, Texas SLAM Event

Hurricane Harvey was one of the most damaging and costly natural disasters in the United States. 

Partner:  St. Bernard Project

2017: Houston, TX

Houston, Texas SLAM Event

Hurricane Harvey hit Texas on August 25, 2017 causing $125 billion in damage, according to the National Hurricane Center. By September, 1/3 of Houston was underwater.

Partner: St. Bernard Project

2017: Lumberton, NC

Lumberton, North Carolina SLAM Event

Hurricane Matthew made U.S. landfall on October 8, 2016. Lumberton, NC, a town about 70 miles from North Carolina's shoreline was one of the worst hit areas by the hurricane. Heavy rains caused the breach of 8 dams which resulted in devastating flooding.

Partner:  United Way Livingston County

2016: Baton Rouge, LA

Baton Rouge, Louisiana SLAM Event

More than 20 inches of rain fell onto Baton Rouge, LA over a 3-day period in August 2016. Devastating floods left thousands of homes and businesses submerged under water. 

Partner: St. Bernard Project

2015: Bayou La Batre, AL

Bayou La Batre, Alabama SLAM Event

Hurricane Katrina made U.S. landfall on August 29, 2005. In the town of Bayou La Batre, Alabama, more than a quarter of the town's residents were already living in poverty when the hurricane hit and devastated its seafood industry. To add insult to injury, on April 20, 2010 the BP oil spill once again devastated the town's economy. 

2014: Washington, IL

Washington, Illinois SLAM event

The EF-4 Tornado that hit Washington, Illinois on November 17, 2013 was the 4th deadliest in the state's history. About 120 residents of Washington, IL were injured and somewhere between 250 and 500 buildings were destroyed.

2014: Moore, OK

Moore Oklahoma SLAM event

On May 20, 2013 a powerful EF-F Tornado hit the town of Moore, Oklahoma killing 24 people and injuring 212. The catastrophic tornado caused an estimated $2 billion in property damage to homes, schools, and businesses.

2013: Toms River, NJ

Toms River, NJ SLAM

Hurricane Sandy made landfall on New Jersey on October 29, 2012. About 4,000 homes in Toms River were damaged. The township lost almost a quarter of its tax base.

Partner: Community Collaboration International

2012: Joplin, MO

Joplin, Missouri.

Late in the afternoon of Sunday, May 22, 2011, a multiple-vortex tornado struck Joplin, Missouri. The tornado killed 158 people, injured 1,150 others, and caused $2.8 billion in damages.

Partners: Boy Scouts of America and Rebuild Joplin

2011: Dupree, SD


Depree is in the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation in Ziebach County, South Dakota, the poorest county in the nation. During the evening of Wednesday, June 16, 2010, a slow moving thunderstorm produced 10 tornadoes, 120 miles per hour winds, and seven inches of rain in and around Dupree.

Partner: Sioux YMCA

2010 (Summer): Tanzania


Over 1 billion people lack access to clean, safe water. Water born illnesses are the 2nd leading cause of death. Vox addresses Africa's water crisis through new well installation, well restoration, water filtration, well mechanic training, and health & sanitation education.

Partner: Vox United

2010: New Orleans, LA

New Orleans, Louisiana

Five years after Katrina, New Orleans was still reeling from the effects of the hurricane. Thousands of people were still seeking restoration, not only for their homes, but for their lives as well.

Partner: Operation Nehemiah

2009: Biloxi, MS

Biloxi, Mississippi

On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit the Mississippi Gulf Coast near Biloxi, causing massive damage to buildings along the coast and claiming 53 lives in Biloxi.

Partner: Back Bay Mission