Alternative Breaks trip to Philippines cancelled after low fundraising

Media Credit: File Photo by Zach Montellaro | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Junior Chris Evans has proposed a GW Alternative Breaks trip to the Philippines for next spring. This trip would be the first Alternative Breaks trip to Asia.

The first planned Alternative Breaks trip to Asia was cancelled last week, leaving students $200 short after they put down a deposit for plane tickets to the Philippines.

Students who signed up for the trip, which would have included helping rebuild parts of the country hit by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, will not receive a refund for all of the $800 personal fee. University spokesman Kurtis Hiatt said in an email that the trip was cancelled because students involved were not able to raise enough money.

Students who planned to go on the alternative break were notified in an email that the program was cancelled last Friday. Those students were given an option to put part of the money paid to Alternative Breaks toward a different trip to Atlanta or receive a partial refund of $600, according to the email.

The other trip is affiliated with the International Rescue Committee in Atlanta, where students will help relocate people who used to live in disaster areas.

The email, signed by Alternative Breaks co-chairs Paige Powers and Frannie Skardon, said that in both cases, students would not receive $200 of the deposit they put down because the money went toward plane tickets. Hiatt said the last possible refund date for the trip was Nov. 7 of last year.

“Although we are saddened that we have to cancel the original trip, we are very excited to move forward with this new opportunity,” the email obtained by The Hatchet read. Powers declined to comment.

Hiatt declined to provide the number of students who signed up for the trip to the Philippines, how much money the students had raised overall, how much the students needed to raise to go to the Philippines or how many students had signed up for the trip to Atlanta.

Skardon said the donations not revoked by donors would go toward the Atlanta program.

“As a student-led, student-run volunteer organization, Alternative Breaks does not have the capacity to send trips that have not completed their fundraising,” she said.

Students who signed up for the break expected to spend a week in March helping the Filipino city of Tacloban recover from natural disasters that have affected the area over the past few years. Students would have worked with the Global Peace Youth Corps and helped build houses that are more durable.

In addition to paying the initial $800 deposit to go on the trip, the students held bake sales and other fundraising events to raise additional money.

Regina del Carmen, one of the trip leaders, declined requests to comment. Chris Evans, the other leader, declined requests to comment.

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