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LS:2024 Alternative Break Leadership: Home

Created for Charlotte Brown's fall 2018 class

Course Description


In preparing students to lead successful alternative break teams, this course focuses on techniques for planning trip logistics, educating students on social issues, and facilitating critical reflection.  Development in theoretical approaches to service-learning specifically connected to service immersion leadership; variety of concepts including intersectionality of varied social and community issues, reflection and reciprocity, active citizenship and community building, practical implementation of skills from student's academic disciplines, leadership development, and other related areas.  

[NOTE: This guide was created for Charlotte Brown's fall 2018 section of this course.]


Students will be able to:

Find accurate and useful information related to team topic and location

  • focus on a particular social issue (e.g. homelessness, food justice, gentrification, education equity, etc.)
  • nonprofits who address that issue in the city where they will travel to over spring break 

Finding Local Community Information

Things to search for online about the local community, try Googling:

  • City government
  • City council
  • Chamber of Commerce
  • find their local newspaper
  • find their local news outlets (ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, etc.)

Next, try the Libraries' InfoHawk+ Tool to search for books, articles, and news sources all at the same time:

Try InfoHawk+

Background Information


TIP: Look for a link that says "Sources" or "Publications" to see if your city is represented by a publication in the database.

Social Issues Databases


  • Search using OR between related search terms to get more results.
    Example: gentrification OR urban renewal
  • Search using "double quotation marks" around a phrase for more precise results:
    Example: "youth education"
  • Search using the built-in controlled vocabulary.
    Example: a keyword search for "food insecurity" may lead you to the Subject Heading of food security
  • Search using an asterisk (*) at the end of a word or set of letters in order to get various endings of that word.
    Examples: homeless* will provide results for homeless or homelessness;
    educat* will provide results for education or educate or educated or educational, etc.

Let us Help

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In addition, try looking at our Tutorials for to-the-point video tutorials that give you just the info you need.

Locations and Topics

To find basic demographic information about your communities, search the American FactFinder from the U.S. Census, and do a search for your location in WolframAlpha.

TIP: You may be able to find articles about your topic that take place in your location, but you can search your topic and your location separately in order to discover more results.

Undergraduate Engagement Librarian

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Cathy Cranston
2013 Main Library