Alternative Spring Break

Alternative Spring Break (ASB) is a 2-unit, week-long experience where a group of approximately 20 undergraduate students from College Nine and John R. Lewis College work with local organizations centered on educational equity and environmental, and economic justice. For the past 5 years, students have joined forces with community programs in the city of Watsonville. We focus our experience toward community building, political participation, horizontal learning, and producing sustainable means of service. Students’ mutual aid and service-learning challenges existing systems of power and works alongside concepts of community building and solidarity.

Every year ASB takes on new forms of activities. In the past, students in ASB have had the opportunity to:

  • Work alongside local gardeners and elementary students in the Calabasas community garden
  • Cook and prepare food with local entrepreneurs in the El Pajaro CDC Kitchen Incubator
  • Open discussion forum with high school students from Watsonville High
  • Collaborate and partake in the Annual Community Mural painting Day with the Monterey Bay Murals Project & community members

If interested in Alternative Spring Break, the applications will be available for pickup at one of the mandatory informational sessions during early winter quarter. Selected students will attend a mini-retreat a few weeks later, and the ASB experience takes place over 5 days during Spring Break.

For more information, contact Program Director Linnea Beckett at

The ASB class is a 2-unit course and fulfills the PR-S requirement.

A big THANK YOU to everyone who was involved. 

    Check out and hear some personal testimonials from our past ASB participants we've collected for the 2019-2020 year. Enjoy!


  • Check out our pictures!


    Read about us: 

    Santa Cruz Sentinel, 2018

    Pajaronian, 2018

    Santa Cruz Sentinel, 2016

    UC Santa Cruz Newsletter, 2016


    “The Alternative Spring Break (ASB) class is aimed at College Nine and John R. Lewis College students who are interested in an in-depth volunteer experience in the Santa Cruz Community over the spring break period. Participants will explore a variety of personal, cultural and socio-economic issues through readings, reflective writing, classroom discussions, exposure to special guest speakers from Watsonville, hands-on participation and experience in Watsonville.” - Ramon Ayala & Rutlio Rodriguez


  • Woo-Hoo, Let's Celebrate! OLLI Award

  • 2020 Award

    The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute’s Santa Cruz chapter participates in College Nine and John R. Lewis College ASB program, and this year they won an award for that work:

    Alternative Spring Break, a Student-led Week of Service Learning
    For several years, members of OLLI at University of California Santa Cruz have participated in the Alternative Spring Break, a student-led week of service learning with a focus on the Watsonville community. The intergenerational and cross-cultural interactions have been powerful, allowing all to reconsider who is offering service to whom. There is power in the wisdom of people‘s efforts to work together to survive and thrive. We meet, we cultivate, we celebrate.

    Read about the award in the OLLI newsletter.