Alternative Spring Break: Gesundheit A Project of Campus Life


West Virginia may not sound like much of a spring break destination, but in March, eleven UMBC students are excited to spend their break at Patch Adam's legendary Gesundheit Institute in Pocahontas County, West Virginia. During the week, students will interact with patients as they learn about the Patch Adam's medical model--the belief that laughter, joy, and creativity are an integral part of the healing process. Students will also study the Institute's approach to social justice and lend a hand in maintaining the sprawling 300-acre campus.

Donations will go directly to the cost of the spring break service learning experience for 11 UMBC students. All donations collected will be used for supplies, lodging, food, and transportation during the trip. See below for our full budget!

Why are we going?

Hear directly from our trip members:


"I loved the service aspect! I was kinda nervous about going into the Veterans Hospital as a clown, but eventually I just let loose and became myself. Everyone there totally loved it! And you could see it in [the patients'] eyes how much this meant to them. Even as we worked on the Gesundheit grounds I felt like I was making a difference." -- Nicole Christ, '18.


"I think what made this trip so special was the aspects of self discovery and re-connection to not only the people around you, but the environment also. Through preparing our meals from scratch everyday, we learned to appreciate food and our environment in a new way. Through clowning at the Veterans' hospital, we learned that a little silliness can go a long way! We learned to love and laugh with those who risked their lives to serve our country. Most importantly, through daily discussions on embracing civic agency, we learned to reconnect with our community and examine the impact we can have as active citizens." --- Joanna Lum, '19.


"It is the most beautiful thing to watch a person snarl at you when you walk into their room but in just a few minutes they will feel comfortable enough to tell you their whole life's story just because you're wearing a goofy clown costume. This has taught me to bring empathy into my everyday life, having an open ear and making the people I talk to feel comfortable with me." --- Rachael McClaurey, '18.

What is Alternative Spring Break?

Spring break: for most students, it holds the promise of sunshine and freedom--an escape from the busy world of school. But for others, spring break means a chance to learn something new and make a difference in the world. That's where Alternative Spring Break (ASB) comes in. These week-long service trips introduce students to the broad range of challenges our society faces and teaches them how they can help change things for the better.

Make a difference. Give today!

All contributions raised are administered by the UMBC Foundation for the benefit of UMBC.

Together We Can Make It Happen! Here's How:
Lodging and Food ($50 per day, per, person) $3,075
Van Rental $1,000
Gas (700 miles round trip) $150

We are no longer accepting donations on this campaign, but there are other ways for you to support us today!

Supported by 9 Donations:

  • Nancy K.
    I Gave $100
    Happy to help a good cause!
  • Silhouette
    I Gave $25
    I love Gesundheit :) Have fun!!!
  • Christopher V.
    I Gave $50
    I applaud each student who has decided to participate in this experience. It will be a rewarding opportunity, and I am glad to help.
  • Silhouette
  • Lorraine R.
    I Gave $50
  • Silhouette
  • Derrell B.
    I Gave $100
    Glad to donate to a win-win project.
  • Dawn B.
    I Gave $50