Our 2016-2017 year of Bear Breaks Immersion Trips has come to an end, so let’s take a look back on the growth, learning, and service we experienced! Bear Breaks truly held to our principles of Pop the College Bubble. Be Fully Present. Spread the Love. In 2016-17, more than 100 Citizen Bear students, faculty, and staff traveled almost 8,000 miles locally, nationally, and globally to work alongside 31 community agencies. Learning and service focused around social issues from sustainability to homelessness and hunger, and Bear Breaks served more than 1,900 hours.
This year, our pursuit of active citizenship was made possible by the many supporters of the program, including student Trip Leaders, Bear Breaks Executive Board, Faculty and Staff Advisors, Community Learning Partners, Donors, and MSU departments. We would like to invite these partners to Coffee and Change, our reorientation and recognition event, during which we discuss social change and connect with campus and community agencies!
Immersion Trip Leaders are students dedicated to service! These students were part of a year-long training and leadership program to prepare them to facilitate discussions, work alongside community agencies across the country, and educate participants about social issues. Through workshops, a low ropes course, and talks with community leaders, these students developed learning goals for their trips based on meaningful service and active citizenship. Trip Leaders developed strong teams of students for their trips, and are now bringing their learning back to connect to the Springfield community.
The Bear Breaks Executive Board works closely with Community Involvement & Service staff to develop a vision for the year of service. Executive Board members are well-versed in reflection and education, and have served as Trip Leaders for Bear Breaks. This year, our board’s goal was to grow the program to provide more diverse offerings of trips, and to develop in-depth education workshops. These students should be proud of what they accomplished!
Two Faculty or Staff Advisors accompany each group of students. Our Advisors are an essential component of Bear Breaks’ successful year. They provide support to Trip Leaders and participants, and often deepen learning with their life experience and knowledge of academic concepts. Our Advisors truly serve as learning partners, and we appreciate their support of the program.
Community Learning Partners
In our pursuit of active citizenship, we rely on the knowledge, experience, and passion in the Springfield community. Community leaders from The Kitchen, The Drew Lewis Foundation and the Fairbanks, Foster Adopt Connect, and Big Momma’s served as panelists during Trip Leader workshops. Our groups look forward to reconnecting with these learning partners after their return from trips to create reorientation projects.
The Missouri State University Foundation has been an incredible partner and advocate of Bear Breaks Immersion Trips! Donors of these trips helped to support the Public Affairs Mission and provide experiential learning opportunities for students. Donations to givecampus.com allowed our programs to remain affordable and sustainable for students.
Our campus partnerships mean the world to us and help advance the Public Affairs Mission. Public Affairs Support provided resources to the program during Fall and Spring Breaks. The Missouri State Alumni Association gave our students the opportunity to connect with alum from across the country. For example, our students were able to serve alongside alumni in St. Louis and Kansas City during the Fall 2016 Immersion Trips. Study Away supports a January trip to Costa Rica focused on Eco-Agriculture. Web and New Media supports our Immersion Blogs and the crucial reflection and critical thinking pieces of trips.
It is evident by the list above that it took many people to make the 2016-17 year of Bear Breaks a successful, transformative experience for MSU students. Coffee and Change will be held on April 7th at 5p.m. In PSU Ballroom East to celebrate and reconnect. We cannot wait to hear about groups’ reorientation plans!