Mizzou Alternative Breaks is a student group on the campus of the University of Missouri – Columbia that sends groups of 12 students across the country over Thanksgiving, winter, spring, and weekend breaks to work on various service projects. This program provides a unique opportunity for students to gain a wider perspective of the world while immersed in a life-changing week of service to people and communities in need. During Spring Break 2014, nearly 650 MU students volunteered for 52 projects across the country, adding to the 200 additional students who went on trips over the winter.
Private gifts help fund the program and space is limited by the funding. The Alternative Break program at the MU campus has grown significantly and is currently ranked No. 4 in the nation for number of participants and trips. As you can imagine coordinating this many trips can be challenging.
UM Procurement assisted the Student Life department in making arrangements for these trips. Over 100 student purchasing cards were issued to be used for trip related expenses, alleviating the need for these groups to obtain large amounts of cash. This allowed for an increased safety measure and helped make the groups more accountable for their expenditures. In addition, Procurement, through our contractual partnership with Enterprise, helped with the acquisition of 87 vans and larger utility vehicles for transportation to the various project locations. Procurement worked in cooperation with Risk and Insurance Management to ensure vehicles had adequate insurance coverage, and enough eligible drivers are available per group.
Below is a photo from early morning on Friday, March 21 of the Enterprise rental vehicles ready to be checked out to Mizzou Alternative Break students later that day. At the time of this photo, Enterprise was still delivering vehicles so it doesn’t include the last 15 or so vehicles that would also be used. In order to acquire this volume of vans and SUVs, Enterprise pulled from available markets in Missouri and surrounding states. The photo at the top shows the vehicles being loaded up and returned after the trips.
Additional information on the MU Alternative Breaks program can be found at: http://asb.missouri.edu/about/