Speaking of spring break, when I was just in DC, I met a college student who worked for the US Campaign for Burma who had taken a very different kind of vacation to Thailand: a fact-finding mission about the Burma crisis. It was one of American University's "Alternative Breaks," and check out this superfun description of the itinerary: "Students critically examined refugee issues, US sanctions on Burma, governance within the Burmese government in exile and other sociopolitical organizations within the democracy movement, as well as the role of international institutions in responding to the complex humanitarian and political challenges to development in Burma." Party!
I'm familiar with alternative cruises and alternative summer camps, but wasn't aware that such a huge number of schools, from Stanford to Colorado State to the University of Virginia, offer opportunities to learn about topics like veterans' health care, the Cherokee Nation, human services in Argentina, and Nepalese gender stratification on spring, summer, and Christmas breaks. The number of kids participating in these continually expanding projects outweighs the number appearing annually on MTV Spring Break Challenge. Who says we're a nation of vapid and apathetic youth?