Current Partnerships

Alternative Service Break

Department of Student Involvement

Winter 2017-2018

Travel to Uruguay in the South American summer with Rizoma Field School! A small country wedged between Argentina and Brazil, Uruguay offers a unique mix of European, Latin and African-influenced cultures, beautiful rolling countryside, and some of the world’s most progressive policies supporting both human happiness and preserving the natural environment. The group will ring in the new year with a traditional Uruguayan asado celebration, which centers around grilling food outdoors, drinking yerba mate (an Uruguayan tea), music, and sobremesa: the concept of chatting around a table during meals. Next, participants will work closely on projects with small-scale agricultural producers who do a mix of subsistence production and some agricultural production for sale. These small producers strive to use only organic principles, but they are being challenged in their ability to subsist on the land by the introduction of industrial agriculture to Uruguay in recent decades. We will support these farmers through various projects including: road repair, planting, harvesting, or preparing soil organically. These projects will help to support the continued resilience of these farmers in their challenge to live with minimal impact on the environment. The work will be physically challenging, but in doing this work you will be making a significant impact on the small-scale farming community in Uruguay, and in doing so you will learn about a resilient way of life that has been flourishing in this region for centuries.

Student testimonials:

“I learned how important sustainable living is not just because of the environmental impact is has but also because it is also very economical. Hearing that Martin and Paola were going to make a mud house blew me away. Before meeting them I did not know anyone that lived a more sustainable life than them.”

“Active citizenship and direct service can have deep impacts that help improve other people’s lives or makes their lives a bit easier. I was able to experience this first hand and it really drives in the idea of what you are doing. Once you see it in person you will only want to do more to help.”

“On this trip, I learned that service is more easily accessible than I thought. If I see a problem or want to help a cause, I realize that I can find the people that can get me involved. I will also actively promote good and sustainable ideas since I got to learn about them in Uruguay and want to share with my friends and family.”

“The world that we live in seems as if it is growing smaller and smaller and the way people notice this is through cultural diversity. People notice different mannerisms, customs, foods, language, clothing etc. These things are very interesting to me and I love learning about them and how they came about.”

“While on the ASB trip I became fascinated with the mate culture of Uruguay! This is something that I will continue to practice here in Moscow and I hope people that I meet will be interested in it as well.”

“Before the trip I would say I was just a volunteer and after the trip I feel like an active citizen for taking action. Right now I am thinking about applying to be a student leader for an ASB trip which is not something I would have even considered before the trip.”

“I just wish I could do another one next year but there’s that whole graduation thing in May! Overall, this was an amazing and eye-opening experience.”

“I wanted to tell you guys just how much I appreciated this opportunity and all I have learned from your family and way of life. I raved to my parents and all my friends about how much I loved Uruguay and all the people we got to help. I feel so lucky to have gotten to go on this trip and meet all of you. Currently in the process of setting up a recycling initiative in my sorority (baby steps) and composting all our left over food to the back yard area, to hopefully start a small garden! Moscow is cold, windy and I have yet to see the sun.  I could really use an afternoon at the beach and eating some of Pablo Jordan’s delicious food. I am so grateful for your hospitality and wish you guys all the best!”


Washington State University

Center for Civic Engagement

International Programs

Alternative Spring Break 2019

More information to come.