William & Mary

Branch Out: Achieving Results

Branch Out Alternative Breaks exist to create a community of active and educated individuals dedicated to the pursuit of social justice, while making positive impacts in the communities with which we partner.  Our program outcomes include learning goals for students and community impact goals which reflect these commitments.

Learning Goals

Students will:

  • Develop an understanding of relevant social issues and their root causes
  • Gain an understanding of concepts of social justice, including power, privilege, oppression and difference
  • Cultivate mutual relationships with people of diverse backgrounds and identities on campus and in communities
  • Integrate academic experiences with community engagement
  • Value and practice reflective thinking
  • Share information with others about social issues
  • Gain tools to become engaged in community efforts and act on social issues throughout their lives
  • Develop a personal and sustainable commitment to community
Community Impact Goals

Through community engagement, students will:

  • Build on and contribute to community assets and strengths
  • Create measurable positive impact on community-identified needs
  • Learn from community partners and members about social issues, root causes and community contexts
  • Develop sustained relationships with communities and long-term involvement with social issues, where possible
  • Respect community capacity and needs, being responsive, punctual, flexible and using their skills and abilities fully
What People Say about Branch Out

"I want to say the whole part of this break has been indescribably amazing. It has been such as productive, educational, and heart-warming trip."

"[My advice for Branch Out participants would be to] have fun and learn from your teammates!  Some of my fondest memories of WM come from alternative break trips.  It's not often in life that you are immersed in a community that is fully dedicated and involved in all forms of activism.  From my teammates and other leaders, I learned about issues that I would never have had the opportunity to discover on my own.  Because of their passion and dedication to different causes, I am a more rounded citizen and more aware of the current issues of the world."

"I loved getting to know everyone that went on my trip. In just a week, I gained eleven new friends. Not only were we able to share our spring breaks, but we were also able to share our opinions on such a variety of topics, and those are the deep, meaningful conversations that I love the most."

"[My favorite part of my alternative break was] destroying the prejudices I didn't know I had."

"My favorite part of the entire alternative break is of course doing the service but, also making connections and bonds with people on my campus who I would have probably never met or had the opportunity to get to know. Meeting people with common passions and desires for learning about a social issue is very encouraging. I met eleven allies in the fight for social justice in one week. That's awesome."