Social Action & Integrative Learning (SAIL), housed within the School of Integrative Studies, is an evolving community of Mason students, faculty, administrators, alumni, and community partners who are active and passionate collaborators in effecting positive social change. SAIL fosters integrative, innovative, and experiential learning opportunities on campus, regionally, and globally that educate and activate towards a more equitable, just, nonviolent, and sustainable world. We partner with people, organizations, and communities to increase collaborators’ capacity for community-driven social change and to develop and enact creative solutions to complex shared public problems.
An Alternative Break is an experience in which students engage in direct-service. These experiences are generally a week-long, and occur during spring or summer break where students work in partnership with host organizations on community-driven goals, focused on a particular social justice topic. Through exploration and immersion into the social issue long before the trip starts, students are able to interrogate the root causes of social issues in a way that allows them to engage compassionately and think critically.
As we adjust to new rules, protocols and considerations in this COVID-19 era, we have reworked and reconsidered our Alternative Break Experiences. The future of this pandemic is uncertain and ever changing, thus we are moving all of our Alternative Breaks to virtual/local experiences and encouraging folks to think global and act local.
We will spend the Fall semester planning for these trips and adjusting to the needs of our community partners around these following topics. We hope this can help us create meaningful, purposeful and community driven experiences in our own backyard. This shift allows us to recalibrate and ensure that what we are doing will be impactful and educational as we address critical social concerns in partnership with our neighbors and surrounding communities.
We plan to host very affordable/low-cost experiences in the DMV area around the following topics:
- The Changing Landscape: An Exploration on Gentrification and Immigration Policy
- It’s Not Them but Us – Turning the Tide on HIV/AIDS
- System Change, Not Climate Change: The Roots of Environmental Justice
- The Color of Justice: Racial Equity and Community Action in the DMV
- Art as Social Action/Indigenous Culture
COVID-19 has highlighted the inequity, challenges and needs for folks across the world. We plan to dig deeper into these social issues to learn more about how we might be able to identify and recognize the root causes in our own community. We will plan for these experiences with safety at the forefront and make a more informed decision towards the end of the Fall semester as to whether some of these experiences can or will be partially or fully in person. The application for participants will be due in January.
Alternative Break Leaders Needed – Apply Today!
We are currently hiring paid Alternative Break Leaders and hope your student will consider applying to be an Alternative Break (AB) Leader. The application is due Saturday, August 15. We hope your student will consider applying today to help us to create these impactful trip experiences. While previous experience is helpful, it is not required. Please visit this link to learn more about the position and access the application: sail.gmu.edu/alternative-break/applications-and-information
We encourage you and your student to visit our SAIL website to learn more about our programs including our Leadership through Community Engagement Virtual Learning Community, Field Studies, Community Engagement events and Nonprofit Fellows program. We have many opportunities for your student to connect to our local community while gaining skills and experience to further their future career goals. We look forward to hopefully working with you and your students during their time at Mason.
Social Action and Integrative Learning (SAIL)
Social Action and Integrative Learning
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