Skip to Local Navigation
Skip to Content
California State University, Long Beach

Alternative Spring Break Logo

13th Annual CSULB Alternative Spring Break


In the spring of 2006, CSULB students, staff and faculty, inspired by the vision of students from the American Marketing Association, answered the call to assist with efforts to rebuild the thousands of houses in the Gulf region affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Alternative Spring Break was born! Now in its thirteenth year, the Alternative Spring Break program will make its way further east to a suburb of Pittsburgh, PA, where you will learn about urban poverty in the Appalachian region and take advantage of somewhat different service learning opportunities, such as education workshops (through the local middle and high schools) and community development projects (e.g., surveying residents). Making, reinforcing and sustaining human connections, as well as listening and being compassionate, are at the heart of this trip.

The dates for the trip are Sunday, March 25, 2018 - Saturday, March 31, 2018.  The cost to students selected to participate will be $250.  This will cover most expenses (i.e., air and ground transportation, lodging, and meals). Late arrivals/early departures are strictly prohibited.

Course Requirements

University 300I Special topics: Urban Poverty: Problems and Prescriptions

Spring meeting time: MW 5:00pm-6:15pm CBA 111

Professor:  Dr. Bonnie Gasior

* Course fulfills the GE Capstone 1 D2 Human Diversity and Writing Intensive requirements

This course offers an overview of urban poverty in the U.S that moves from to the regional level to the local (Appalachia and for the spring break component, specifically Western Pennsylvania.) Course readings will address topics such as the characteristics of low-wage work and its role in the perpetuation of poverty; the relationship between poverty discourse and anti-poverty policy; and the economic, social, and political mechanisms at play in urban contexts and their intersections with race, class, ethnicity and gender. The spring break component will examine the circumstances of a small town, McKees Rocks, PA (pop. 6,000), a working-class suburb located approximately five miles from downtown Pittsburgh, as they relate to a variety of urban issues, including transience, resources, diversity, education, workforce, and sustainability. The “Rocks”, as locals call it, has historically exemplified the notion of “urban decay”, related to Wilson & Kelling’s “broken windows theory”, but a series of recent developmental projects are slowly transforming the area.


Application Process

  1. Applications must be submitted no later than 5:00 PM on Friday, October 27th. Applications are avaiable on BEACHSYNC HERE.
  2. OPTIONAL: You may have a CSULB faculty, staff, or administrator complete a Recommendation Form and email it as an attachment by 10/31/17 at 9pm to Dr. Bonnie Gasior ( The CSULB faculty, staff, or administrator's email will serve as their signature and a time stamp. Download a RECOMMENDATION FORM HERE.

Students will be selected through a competitive process.  Those selected will be notified by the first week of November. 

*Previous Alt Spring Break participants are eligible!

Where will we stay:

We will be staying at Camp Guyasuta in Sharpsburg, PA, which is approximately 10 miles from McKees Rocks and offers dorm-style living arrangements with bunkbeds and communal bathrooms. We will eat breakfast and dinner at the Camp. Lunch will be arranged in McKees Rocks.