UVM club in the running for $25,000 Newman’s prize

The Alternative Spring Break (ASB) program is one of nine finalists in the second annual Newman’s Own Foundation Campus Community Service Challenge. The top grant awarded to the first place winner is $25,000, according to the Newman’s Own Foundation website. “[The money] would be really, really helpful because so many people apply and we have to cut half of the people,” program leader Alison Mercier said. Mercier said ASB is a good way to learn about community service and volunteering. The Newman’s Own Campus Community Service Challenge is a foundation set up for student groups from America East universities that practice philanthropy, the website stated. To participate in the program, each club or group must have a community service partner and go through a simple application process, program leader Peter Johnson said. ASB is a university-run program that gives students the opportunity to travel and volunteer around the country while also training in social justice, according to the ASB website. Each group participates in things like environmental conservation, poverty, gender diversity, education inequality and disaster relief, the website stated. This year 14 groups are going to locations like Denver, Miami and Alexandria, Va., according to the website. Sophomore Katelyn Chafe, who is going to Colorado this spring break to work with at risk high school youth, said that ASB is a great cause. “That would be a great opportunity for ASB because it is such a great program for people volunteering,” Chafe said. If ASB wins the top prize, the program plans to use the money for things like better quality housing, food costs and transportation for the student volunteers, program leader Abbey Pratt said.