About UD Alternative Breaks
Mission, Vision and Values
The University of Delaware Alternative Break (UDAB) organization immerses student-led teams in direct service and experiential learning with community organizations to increase knowledge of social justice issues and encourage life-long active citizenship. UDaB programs consist of a weeklong experience to work with a community over winter or spring break. Each program has a focus area that ranges from the environment to domestic violence to disabilities and much more, and involves significant education of such focus area(s) before, during and after the alternative break. Partial scholarships are made available based on financial aid.
Mission and Vision
UDAB focuses on promoting social justice by providing opportunities for students to engage in mutually beneficial service with a vision to develop a community of active citizens.
Our work strives to build an abundant community, recognizing the unique gifts and talents of every member. It strives to create equitable, inclusive and intentional spaces.
- Diversity and Social Justice
Our work strives to be welcoming and to value all people, not despite, but because of our differences. We value the strength in perspectives within diverse groups of people, and we do not see our work possible without learning from one another. Our work is built around equity and inclusion, ultimately contributing to the goal of a socially just world.
- Mutually Beneficial Service
Our work strives to create partnerships that address community-identified needs and support local community organizers, while promoting an educational and developmental experience for student participants. We work in solidarity with the community organizations and individuals we encounter, striving to promote allyship and engagement before, during and after the alternative break experience.
Our work strives to align our mission and vision with all four actions. We aim to cultivate values-based decisions and leadership.
UDAB began in 2010 and piloted its first program during the 2011 spring break. In that first year, 92 students participants and 12 student leaders traveled to five communities to pursue service projects. In 2017, 538 student participants and 56 student leaders traveled to 24 communities over winter and spring break, contributing almost 18,000 hours of service and learning an immeasurable amount from those they served.
Please Consider a Donation to UDAB
UDAB has been the recipient of support from the families and friends of participants. We are grateful for all the support from the University community and contributions from donors.
(Be sure to select the “Other” category then search for UDAB.)
Originally I joined UDAB more as a social outlet, but what I found was a community of love that kept bringing me back.
I’ve been with UDAB for 4 years. Tremendous group of people, well led, and what’s amazing is when they show up on day one, they are already a group. They come as a block for a week. That’s a lot of work hours and they are all good quality work hours. What more can you ask for?
Meet Senior Leadership
Malika Iyer, Senior Lead
Malika is a sophomore Mechanical Engineering major from Lagos Nigeria. Her first experience in an alternative break program was in Spring 2022 with Habitat for Humanity in New Bern, North Carolina, and she absolutely loved it, which is why she is so passionate about being a site leader for this program. She is and always has been passionate about social justice issues and wants to make a positive change in any which way she can. On campus, she is also involved with BHLP, HENS and much more. In her free time, she likes to read, find new places to visit, and spend time with her friends. She is so excited for the programs this year and can’t wait!
Adam Kerzner, Senior Lead
I am Adam Kerzner and a junior at University of Delaware. I am a biology major and I am from Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. I enjoy exercising, playing and watching sports such as soccer and basketball, and hanging out with my friends. I joined UDaB in my sophomore year and went on a weeklong trip building homes for Habitat for Humanity. I loved every second of the trip and I can not wait to be a site leader for this upcoming year.
Natalie Baysinger, Junior Lead
Participating in the New Bern program last Spring was a life changing experience for me! Through experiencing an entirely new environment, meeting community members, meeting people that benefit from our partner programs, and getting to do hands on work to help, I gained a lot of perspective, a better understanding of systemic issues and how individuals can help and had so much fun! This year, I am so excited to help foster and grow successful programs, and help other students have incredible experiences, too!
Jasmin Bioteau, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Chair
Hi everyone! My name is Jasmin Bioteau (she/her/hers) and I am from Abington, Pennsylvania, which is about one hour from UD. I am an honors junior chemistry and Spanish major. On campus I am involved in American Chemical Society (ACS), Blue Hen Leadership Program (BHLP) and, of course, UDAB. My favorite pastimes are reading, running, and spending an absurd amount of time eating dinner in CR with my friends. UDAB has been a great experience for me. I met some awesome people during the alternative break program that I have become great friends with, all the while gaining knowledge about social justice issues! I am excited to help this program run efficiently and make it a fun, safe space.
Kaveri Srivastava, Outreach Chair
Hi! My name is Kaveri Srivastava and I am the community engagement chair for UDaB this academic year. I am a senior Chemical Engineering major. I got involved in UDaB in my sophomore year where I was fortunate to be a participant of the Sussex County Habitat for Humanity program in Spring 2022. Being part of that program was a life-changing experience for me which culminated in me leading the Baltimore Reading Partners program in Spring 2023. Being able to mesh my love for social justice and service has made UDaB an unforgettable experience for me and I am excited to see what this upcoming year holds as I hope to make it as prosperous as possible.
2024 Winter Site Leaders
Brian Chansky, Puerto Rico
Brian Chansky is a senior Marine Science major with a minor in Organizational and Community Leadership. Brian is very involved on campus, serving as the Vice President of Membership for the UD Student Alumni Ambassadors as well as playing two years each of club men’s volleyball and club golf. Brian is also a tier four student in the Blue Hen Leadership program, and has served as a QUEST Peer Mentor for the last two years as well as a member of the BHLP presentation team. Brian has taken advantage of his summers, spending last year’s sailing across the Atlantic Ocean, and spending this past summer in Key Largo as a Marine Conservation Intern at Reef Environmental Education Foundation. Brian was also a participant on UDAB’s 2023 Puerto Rico Program where he thoroughly enjoyed his experience, and is super excited to be leading the program this time around!
Jalen Rogers, Puerto Rico
Hi Everyone! My name is Jalen Rogers and I am a senior majoring in Political Science, Public Policy, and Economics. Growing up in Dover, Delaware, I’ve garnered a passion for the political process which led me to pursue the 4+1 program for a Master of Public Administration. I am involved in a wide-range of organizations across campus, including BHLP Tier 4, College Republicans, the Institute for Public Administration, QUEST, and Greek life. During my free time, I enjoy going camping, watching movies, reading realistic fiction or fantasy novels, and enjoying the company of friends and family. UDAB took me to Puerto Rico and opened up my worldview. I could not be more excited for this upcoming year!!
Nate Vaszily, Puerto Rico
Hi my name is Nate Vaszily, and I’m super excited to be a site leader this year. I am majoring in exercise science, and I am minoring in strength and conditioning in the hopes of becoming a physical therapist. I like to workout, hang out with my friends, listen to music, and I am a big marvel fan. I also love going to the beach, eating lots of food, and trying new things.
2024 Spring Site Leaders
Danielle Blachar, Appalachia Service Project (Jonesville, VA)
Hi everyone! My name is Danielle Blachar (she/her/hers) and I am a sophomore from Westchester, New York. I’m majoring in Elementary Education with a concentration in ESL and minoring in Organizational and Community Leadership. Here at UD, I’m in the Honors College and the Access: Ability Scholars program. Outside of UDaB, I’m involved on campus with the Blue Hen Leadership Program, UDance Dance Marathon, Blue Hen Ambassadors, Hillel, Diversity Enrichment Leaders, and so much more. I love having picnics on the green with my friends, listening to music, and watching the sunset. Participating in the Habitat for Humanity program in New Bern, NC was one of the highlights of my first year on campus and provided me with an invaluable learning experience where I established lifelong relationships. I am so excited to be a Site Leader and have the opportunity to help facilitate this experience for others!
Gabriel Ma, Appalachia Service Project (Jonesville, VA)
Hi everyone! This is my third year doing UDaB and my second-year as a spring site-leader. I went to Camp Royall my Freshmen year where I was a camp counselor for people with Autism. I was the site leader on the Community Servings program my Sophomore year where we provided medically tailored, nutritious, scratch-made meals to chronically and critically ill individuals and their families. I’m thrilled to be back as a site leader this year, and I’m looking forward to ensuring that everyone on my program has an incredible experience!
Sofia Caamano, Chesapeake Bay Foundation (Annapolis, MD)
Hello! My name is Sofia Caamano and I’m a sophomore Sports Health major with a minor in Strength and Conditioning on the pre-PT track. I’m from San Carlos, California and I’m involved in BHLP Tier 2. I really enjoy hanging out with friends, spending time with my cat, and listening to music. I participated in the New Bern, NC alternative break last spring and had so much fun that I applied to be a site leader for this year!
Autumn Newman, Appalachia Service Project (Jonesville, VA)
Hi!!! My name is Autumn Newman and I am a junior Marine Science major! I was a participant in the Habitat for Humanity program in New Bern, NC last year and had an amazing time. I am also involved in leadership and service in two other capacities, so I spend A LOT of my time in the office. Beyond that I really love to paint, and I’m a huge environmentalist so I go kayaking and hiking pretty frequently. I am super excited to be a site leader this year and to be a part of this experience for everyone!
Ellena Adams, Community Servings (Boston, MA)
Hey there! My name is Ellena Adams and I am a sophomore Fashion Design and Product Innovation major here at UD! I am also minoring in Theatre Studies, as I do a bunch of costuming for clubs at UD, as well as for high schools near my hometown of Mifflinville, Pennsylvania. I am also involved in the UD Student Alumni Ambassadors here on campus, and I am the Social Coordinator for the Harrington Theatre Arts Company (HTAC). This past year, I completed Tier One of the Blue Hen Leadership Program, and I had the amazing opportunity to go on the Spring 2023 UDaB New Bern, NC Habitat for Humanity program. I am super excited to be a part of more programs, and I’m looking forward to learning more and gaining new perspectives!
Richard Oboryshko, Community Servings (Boston, MA)
Hi, my name is Richard Oboryshko. I am currently a sophomore double majoring in English and History. Beyond the classroom, I am interested in reading, writing, and theatre. I was a participant in the 2023 UDaB winter session program, and I am super excited to be a spring site leader!
Olivia Hayes, Habitat for Humanity (New Bern, NC)
I am a sophomore studying Political Science and History with a minor in Public Policy. I was a participant on last year’s program with Reading Partners in Baltimore, MD. I absolutely loved my program and decided to get involved this year as a site leader. Outside of UDaB, I am a participant in tier 2 of BHLP, work as an ambassador for the Leadership and Service office, am a Community Engagement scholar, involved with the Biden Institute, and involved with CRU here on campus. Off of campus, I love to work on political campaigns and participate in service in our local Newark community. I am so excited to see the incredible opportunities we have this year on our alternative breaks programs and can’t wait to meet everyone involved!
Kate Knesek, Community Servings (Boston, MA)
Hello! My name is Kathleen Knesek and I am a site leader for UDaB this academic year. I am a senior Art Conservation major with minors in Fashion History and Culture and Museum Studies. My involvement with UDaB started my junior year with the New Bern, NC Habitat Program which looks at affordable housing. Through UDaB I have been able to not only continue combining my love of service and leadership, but also grow in my knowledge of social justice issues. I am so excited for this opportunity to engage with social justice as a site leader and to help others grow in their awareness of social justice!
Mia Sebak, H.O.M.E. (Orland, ME)
Hi! My name is Mia Sebak, and I am a sophomore in the College of Health Sciences. I came in as an Applied Molecular Biology and Biotechnology major but have recently switched to Human Physiology. However, I still don’t know what I want to do with my career yet. I went on a UDaB trip to Boston, Massachusetts last year and absolutely loved it! It helped me figure out how much I loved community service, and I want to share that love with you all! I love baking, cooking, and hanging out with friends and family (and pets) in my free time! I can’t wait to meet you all and lead a service trip this coming spring break!
Jackson Tomasco, H.O.M.E. (Orland, ME)
Hello all you beautiful people! My name is Jackson Tomasco (he/him/his) and I am so excited for the opportunity to be a Sight Leader! I am a junior year nursing student from Fairfax VA and in the future, I aspire to become a flight nurse. On campus I am actively involved in Adaptive Medical Technologies Club, Men in Nursing club and UD Leadership and Service. If I’m not in class or studying, which I do quite a lot, you can find me listening to what I call “crunchy” music, spending time talking and laughing with my friends, often at my own jokes, and spending time outdoors, hiking, camping, and or laying out or hammocking around campus. I’m a diehard Eagles fan but an even bigger fan of you for being interested in UDaB!