November Alternative Weekend

This month AWOL participants worked with SESDAC in Vermillion and Life Scape in Sioux Falls on an Alternative Weekend trip. These organizations work specifically with individuals that have disabilities and their families. The participants had the opportunity to assist these organizations by raking leaves and cleaning out gutters. They enjoyed working with a diverse volunteer group and meeting residents at each organization.


Alternative Weekend to Okoboji

            On Friday October 15th, 14 students from USD attended an AWOL Alternative Weekend trip to Okoboji, Iowa. USD students were able to partake in volunteer work at a Humane Society and Camp Okoboji. The participants were able to experience a wide range of volunteer work from these two places. The volunteer work that took place at the camp consisted of stacking wood, cleaning tables and chairs, picking up shingles, cleaning ceiling fans, sweeping floors, moving tables, and picking up branches. From the Humane Society, USD students walked dogs, cleaned out dog kennels and cat cages, swept and mopped, and put together cat homes. Participants stayed at Camp Okoboji in a cabin and were provided with home cooked meals for lunch, breakfast, and supper.
            Site Leader Gina Soukup shares, “Our experience in Okoboji was incredible! The coordinators from the Humane Society and Camp Okoboji were both grateful that we were able to come and help them out. They were appreciative of our help and asked for us to come back and thanked us many times. Overall, the weekend went great for the USD students.”
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AWOL Pancake Feed

Join us for the AWOL Spooktacular Pancake Feed Thursday October 27th at the Vermillion Armory. You can purchase the $5 tickets from any AWOL winter break participant or during tabling. Please come and support an amazing group of people and enjoy pancakes!


AWOL Leadership Opportunity!

The MEDLIFE Director application is now open!!

We are looking for a hardworking individual who is dedicated to service-learning. The MEDLIFE Director is responsible for planning and leading the yearly MEDLIFE alternative break trip in May of 2017. This individual needs to be available for mandatory meetings and trainings and be involved with fundraising and public relations surrounding the trip. If you have any questions, please email the AWOL board at

Here is application link:

Alternative Weekend Trip to Lincoln



A group of AWOL participants spent Saturday working with Food Net. Food Net is a local non-profit group that has been in Lincoln for 31 years serving the community perishable foods (breads, fresh bakery items, produce, dairy) collected from grocery stores and restaurants in the community. Food Net serves at 18 locations 7 days a week.

Site leader Ashley Meiners reflects, “It was awesome to see so many people take a little time out of their game day to support others. We worked at two locations and both were entirely different experiences, which was majorly impacted by the neighborhood that the churches were in. To end the day, we unloaded twelve 7 foot tall pallets of donations at Center for People in Need. The donations will be free to people and to whoever needs them. It was a humbling experience to see the grateful people accepting the generosity of others.”

AWOL 9/11 Service Day

AWOL participated in the 9/11 laps for lives event at the Vermillion, SD high school. Laps For Lives served as a remembrance for the 2,977 lives lost on September 11, 2001. Participants in the event walked a combined 2,977 laps. AWOL participants then traveled to Heikes Family Farm. We harvested apples and pears and cleaned up produce that had fallen. Produce that was not deemed good enough to eat was sent to another local farm and will feed pigs there. It was a lot of fun and great to work with our local community partner!


Site Leaders Went to Work!

Yesterday the site leaders for this year’s winter and spring break trips and some of the AWOL board members went out to Heikes Farm to do some service! We pulled weeds, picked a variety of fruits and vegetables, and learned about our local family farm.

Site leader Hunter Burns (leading the winter break Chicago trip) reflects, “Helping at Heikes Family Farms with my fellow AWOLers was a truly rewarding experience. It’s awesome to be able to impact the community and to know that the work you did will benefit many individuals and families.”

Site leader Kennidy Asche shares, “It was such a privilege to go out and work at Heikes Farms today with the rest of the AWOL leaders. We had the opportunity to enrich ourselves in the work and mission of their program which involves providing fresh organic produce to the surrounding community. Their impact on Vermillion alone is significant and spreading all the time as their education endeavors continue to grow. While many would not find pulling weeds or collecting vegetables a glamorous affair, it embodies the purpose of AWOL. We aspire to provide students with experiences that support the fostering of relationships, an education on some kind of social issue, and the ability to partake in active citizenship. It is not so much about the type of service you do, but rather about being part of something bigger than yourself.”

Remember that applications are open for Alternative Breaks until Sept 21!

Click here to apply!!!




Serve and Learn 2016!


AWOL is excited to announce that we will be hosting our annual Serve and Learn from Tuesday, August 16th through Friday, August 19th for incoming Freshman interested in service-learning! This is a great opportunity to learn about Vermillion, move in early, and meet other incoming Freshman along with current AWOL members. The cost is only $50 for four fun-filled days of service learning and engaging with the Vermillion community. If you are interested, please look over and fill out the application below. Spots are limited!

Please email us at if you have any questions, we look forward to hearing from you!