We’ve teamed up with Auburn’s Office of Inclusion & Diversity to host an opportunity for students to experience the Black Belt region of Alabama on an alternative Spring Break trip that boasts of community building, meaningful social impact work with community partners, and integrated reflection. The trip will serve as an introduction to environmental and social justice concerns happening in Alabama and to the community at the center of it all — Uniontown, Alabama.
A rural town located approximately 2.5 hours west of Auburn University, Uniontown is predominately African American & has spent much of the past decade battling a toxic landfill (4 million tons of coal ash shipped in from Tennessee). Estimates indicate residents have a 1-in-50 risk of developing cancer from the landfill, as well as other physical and mental illnesses. Additionally, the county’s sewage system continues to experience problems causing overflow into local rivers and impacting the quality of drinking water available in the community. In the face of these realities, residents have organized themselves and sought remedies for these conditions from leaders at all levels of government, largely to little or inadequate avail.
While the heart of the trip will be centered on Uniontown, in order to understand the complexity of the issues at hand and the historical context within which they are situated, we will also spend time in neighboring Selma, Alabama exploring the history of race relations in the region.
Students joining us for the trip will get to engage with youth in a local school & then complete a service project at the school. Additionally, we will interview local community members and youth about their experiences, capturing them through StoryCorps to later be archived in the Library of Congress.
While ALL students may apply, this trip might be of particular interest for students studying sociology, human development & family studies, community & civic engagement, philanthropy & nonprofit studies, environmental design, Africana studies, global studies, health services administration, sustainability, & social justice.
Applications can be submitted through AUInvolve and must be completed by Friday, January 25th. For questions about the trip, please contact our office or Garry Morgan with the Office of Inclusion & Diversity.