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Sharks and Service Trips (SAS)

SAS Year in Review



Are you interested in something more than a service day? Well, look no further! Sharks and Service Trips, SAS, are designed for Sharks who are looking for a meaningful service that is a weekend or week long experience. Each SAS trip gives students the opportunity to learn and serve with a different social issue and community. In past years, students have traveled to Key West, Florida, New Orleans, Louisiana, and Negril, Jamaica. Take some time and look through the past service trip experiences SLCE has offered and think about applying to a trip!


Sharks and Service is an alternative break program that works to address social issues through collaborative community partnerships, meaningful service, transformative education, and reflective dialogue.

Application Process

  • Those that are interested in being apart of SAS can do so through the Sharks and Service SharkHub portal, located here. Each experience is first come, first served. 
  • Interested in applying to be a SAS Site Leader? Applications to be a Site Leader open in April for the next academic year. Find the application on the Sharks and Service SharkHub Page.


Core Values

For more information about our programs core values, please click the headers below:

SAS participants serve for a period of time in designated communities. Each trip focuses on a specific social issue. These issues may include anything from Hurricane Relief, Youth Development, Food Insecurity, Hunger and Homeless, Immigration, Education, and Special Needs and Disabilities, etc. By serving a specific social issue, participants are expected to become more aware of the issue and understand the impact they can make toward improving the community.

The core value of leadership relates to both the Site Leaders and the participants leadership journey. As Student Site Leaders, you are apart of the trip planning process from pre-trip decision making, facilitating group discussions during the trip, and reorientation back to the university community upon completion of the trip. Student Site Leaders will lead conversations that educate the participants on the specific social issue that you will be serving during your trip and help to making meaning of the service throughout the trip.

Student participants also gain valuable leadership skills throughout a SAS experience. Through the leadership of the Student Site Leaders, participants learn to effectively communicate with community affiliates and work collaboratively with other participants to complete tasks. These are useful skills that students will take with them well beyond the SAS experience.

Education is at the forefront of a SAS trip. Student participants, Student Site Leaders, and Advisors, are expected to learn from their experiences serving the community.  Through guided reflection activities, interactions with community members and their collaborative work with others, participants learn about the root causes of the social issue they are serving and how their service makes an impact in that community.

Community serves two major roles in SAS trips: building community among trip participants and serving a community.

SAS trips encourage community among the trip participants. While each participant brings different experiences and knowledge to the trip, serving along side each other for the duration of the trip allows them to identify a common bond they will always share. SAS trips help to bridge connections and build friendships, even after the completion of the trip.

Each SAS trip serves a different community. Participants entering this community learn about the cultural norms and the issues facing these communities. They learn to respect the community and realize that although they may just be visiting for a short period of time, they have the ability to make a larger impact on this community.

Fall 2022 Opportunities

During winter break, a group of students touched down in New Orleans to participate in a service project. They worked with Youth Rebuilding New Orleans organization which started as a response to Hurricane Katrina. YRNO was founded with the focus of bringing together the youth of New Orleans to help rebuild houses and neighborhoods that were heavily impacted by the Category 5 hurricane of 2005. Years later, there are still houses that were never rebuilt so YRNO buys up the land and either renovates or builds the houses back. Students worked on two projects, the first was installing a French Drain and the second was assisting with finishing touches on a newly built house in the 5th ward.

The group also had the chance to experience the city and visited the state museum and the French Quarter. They had a lot of fun exploring, shopping, and of course, eating beignets.

Winter 2023 Opportunities

For spring break 2023, Sharks and Service (SAS) traveled to St. Louis, Missouri to explore the social issues of women’s health and mental well-being. Our community partner, LifeWise, is a St. Louis based organization that supports all populations, ranging from babies to older adults. We learned about the medical and environmental disparities that exist and the medical history of the city, including how it currently has no public hospitals and all the black-ran hospitals have shut down. The week also included a poverty simulation and intergroup monopoly where income disparities became abundantly clear.

Our service included restocking the market with low-cost food items and replenishing the bodega that provides toiletries and clothes at a reduced cost. We also got to participate in gardening to prepare for LifeWise’s upcoming garden programs with students where they grow food. The week also included a health panel with local professionals in the fields of social work, asylum-seeker services, Planned Parenthood, and a local hospital NICU. It was enlightening to hear about their experiences and how health disparities appear in different populations. On the last day, everyone got to enjoy exploring the Arch, City Museum, and Science Center to get a taste of St. Louis culture!

For our summer service trip, we worked with Cultural Connections & Volunteers (CCV) in the small rural community of Alajuela, Costa Rica. The community partner has partnered with the Slum community of Los Lagos to make a difference in this community through small construction projects. The homes are typical slum homes built with whatever they can find: tin, cardboard, wood, etc. Therefore, this home encounters dirt floors and hijacked electricity, some have running water, and they must cook on open fires.

The participants worked to make improvements to local homes by building Indigenous-type stoves and flooring in homes. Currently, most of the homes have dirt floors covered with coffee bags, straw mats, or anything they can find to cover the dirt; kids who live in homes with dirt floors are exposed to fecal matter, worms, protozoa, and other parasites. This leads to diarrhea, anemia, malnutrition, dehydration, cognitive disorders, and developmental disabilities. Most families cook on open fires resulting in health issues such as early childhood pneumonia, emphysema, lung cancer, bronchitis, cardiovascular disease, and low birth weight. Reduced fuel consumption allows a family to spend their hard-earned money in a more sustainable way.

Previous Service Trip Opportunities

For more information about our past trips and where we served click on the links below:

The October Weekend SAS trip will be spent volunteering with Deliver the Dream in Orlando, FL. Participants will have the opportunity to volunteer at an overnight retreat working with LBGTQ Youth. This weekend will be structured as a retreat that provides structured, therapeutic, and family-centered activities that inspire hope, strengthen relationships, and change perspectives for families living with similar circumstances. 

Social Issue: LGBT+ Youth

ExEL Unit Eligible: No

Application Open: August 23, 2019

This traditional trip to New Orleans, LA focuses on hurricane relief post Hurricane Katrina. Volunteers will be serving with Youth Rebuilding New Orleans which serves to engage youth in the betterment of the New Orleans Community. Volunteers help reduce blight by rebuilding distressed and foreclosed homes. The finished homes are sold to teachers to stabilize neighborhoods and positively impact the education system.  

Social Issue: Hurricane Relief

ExEL Unit Eligible: Yes, 1 unit

Application Open: October 1, 2019

Participants will be traveling to Houston TX to assist with hurricane relief efforts post Hurricane Harvey 2017. Volunteers will be partnering with All Hands and Hearts to effectively address the immediate and long-term needs of the community impacted by a natural disaster. The success of this agency is rooted in the smart response equation: Response, Recover, Resilience, Renewal.

Social Issue: Hurricane Relief

ExEL Unit Eligible: Yes, 1 Unit

Application Open: October 1, 2019

Social Issue: Immigration

ExEL Unit Eligible: No

Application Open: November 1

Participants will be traveling to Quetzaltenango, Guatemala to assist with sustainable community development efforts. Students will participate in specially designed for humanitarian projects to help poor community of Quetzaltenango, Guatemala in a stove and chicken coop building project. Volunteers will be partnering with the organizations Cultural Connections Volunteers.

Social Issue: Sustainable Community Development

ExEL Unit Eligible: Yes, 1 unit

Application Open: November 1

Participants will be traveling to Chattanooga, Tennessee to assist with trail construction and maintenance for the Cumberland Trails Conference. Volunteers will be partnering with the Cumber Trails Conference to continue development and maintenance of the Cumberland Trail to ultimately extend 300 miles. 

Social Issue: Environmental

ExEL Unit Eligible: Yes, 1 unit

Application Open: November 1

Trip Canceled for May 2020

Participants will have the opportunity to travel and serve in Asheville, North Carolina. The focus of this trip is Nutrition and Food Insecurity. Students will be working with the YMCA of Western North Carolina to provide access to affordable and nutritious food. Participants will assist in the community distributing from Healthy Living Mobile Markets, cooking demonstrations and valuable nutrition information. 

Social Issue: Nutrition & Food Insecurity 

ExEL Unit Eligible: Yes, 1 unit

Application Open: December 1

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