7 MSIs that Offer Service-learning Opportunities

by Carmen Ye

For students looking to apply theory to practice, service-learning programs such as Alternative Spring Break are a unique opportunity to learn in and outside the classroom. These programs allow students to engage in direct service work with community partners while also taking an associated course to learn about local issues. Trips can be a weekend or week long, take place domestically or internationally, and span a range of issues, including disaster relief, animal welfare, and homelessness. In today’s Monday Morning MSI Line Up, we highlight 7 Minority Serving Institutions that offer service-learning trips.

1) Florida International University (HSI) – Miami, FL


In 2016, a group of FIU students went to Curacao, an island country in the southern Caribbean. Over the course of a week, the students cleaned up trash that was killing plants and preventing wildlife from reproducing. The process involved picking brown algae to turn into farm fertilizer, picking up 1,200 pounds of trash and dead seaweed, and planting mangrove propagules.

2) Xavier University (HBCU) – New Orleans, LA

Xavier offers a variety of service-learning trips during both the fall and spring semesters, with options to drive to local service sites or fly to more remote ones. One trip they completed in the spring focused on prevention and treatment education of substance abuse. Participants explored the issue of substance abuse and the effect that it has on individuals, families, and communities. Participants worked on a rehabilitation farm, performing tasks alongside the men in recovery that live there. The host organization focuses on community outreach, prevention, and treatment.

3) Fort Lewis College (NASNTI) – Durango, Colorado

Alternative Spring Break: Taking a week on! [PHOTOS]

In 2015, Fort Lewis College students traveled to Arizona to meet with the Grand Canyon Trust, a conversation group. They learned about how development has impacted northern Arizona and its people, meeting with Hopi and Navajo farmers who persevere in desert conditions with their traditional drought-resistant seeds. Service projects included digging ditches, weeding school gardens, and pruning fruit trees.

4) San Jose State University (AANAPISI) – San Jose, CA


Earlier this year, SJSU students traveled to Oaxaca, Mexico to work with the Ecoalebrijes Artisan Association of Arrazola. Their trip focused on community-driven projects to create a sustainable economy through art, community education, and environmental stewardship. Local artisans spoke with students about the importance of art and expression in Mexican life, and creating a sustainable local economy through sales of their alebrijes (Mexican folk art sculptures).

5) Spelman College (HBCU) – Atlanta, GA

In collaboration with Morehouse, Spelman students have gone to Haiti to continue rebuilding in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake. Their work included cleaning up a recreational center, and removing grass and debris from a soccer field.

6) University of Massachusetts, Boston (AANAPISI) – Boston, MA

Image result for Capuchin Soup Kitchen umass boston

In 2016, UMass, Boston students traveled to Detroit, Michigan to engage with economic inequality and urban rebirth in the Motor City. Participants served meals to hungry and homeless people at Capuchin Soup Kitchen and supported Alternatives for Girls, which helps homeless and high-risk girls and young women through resources and opportunities offering safety and paths to positive choices.

7) St. Mary’s University (HSI) – San Antonio, TX

Students building a garden at Alternative Spring Break.

St. Mary’s in Texas offers a unique trip to Guayaquil, Ecuador to engage in theological reflection, social analysis, and relationship-building. Through immersing in the Ecuadorian culture through their Catholic faith, students are invited to grow in their faith more intentionally through a lens of justice, critical thinking, exploration of new expressions of faith, and a deeper understanding of the global church and community.

Know of other Service Learning Opportunities? Share them in the comments below!

5 MSIs with Women’s Centers

by Tania Irwin

Today’s Monday Morning MSI Line Up is dedicated to MSIs that house women’s centers.

1) The WISE Women’s Center: City University of New York, Brooklyn College (AANAPISI)—Brooklyn, NY


The Brooklyn College WISE Women’s Center is actually one of the oldest collegiate women’s centers in the U.S. The plan and implement programs that raise awareness of women’s issues and work to empower women to live a life that reduces victimization, encourages self-sufficiency and independence, and sustain self-awareness. In honor of Women’s History Month, the WISE Women’s Center will be hosting a film series and series of workshops. A few of the workshops include: a Safe Sex Workshop on March 16th and a Self-Defense workshop on March 28th. Find out more about their center here.

2) The Women’s Center: North Carolina Central University (HBCU)—Durham, NC


The Women’s Center at NCCU provides leadership training, programming and academic support to the women of NCCU in all areas that effect women. The center hosts a Real Talk speaking series in which guest speakers educate the young women of NCCU’s campus on a variety of topics concerning management, self-care, gender, safety, and leadership. This month’s Real Talk is entitled: Manage Your Man, Yourself, and Yo’ Money. Sounds pretty interesting. We see you NCCU. Find out more about their center here.

3) The Women’s Center: Tennessee State University (HBCU)—Nashville, TN


The mission of the Women’s Center at TSU is to provide resources for women that walk the campus while establishing a safe, diverse and empowering environment. On March 21st, TSU will host their annual Women of Legend and Merit Awards program.This is an annual celebration in which the TSU community extends appreciation to dynamic women leaders in business, entertainment, and other areas within the community. WLMA is designed to bring awareness and raise funds for the Women’s Center and also exposes the women of TSU to positive role models, networking opportunities and resources that will enhance their growth. We salute YOU TSU! Find out more about their center here.

4) The Women’s Center: Florida International University (HSI)—Miami, FL


The Women’s Center at FIU provides women with programs and services that cultivate their academic, professional, social, and emotional growth. We educate and advocate for systemic changes that will improve the lives of women and men.On March 21st & 22nd, Women Who Lead Conference. The purpose of this conference is to enrich and enhance the leadership development of the women of FIU. The conference includes: networking breakfast, panel discussion, trivia program, a networking lunch and  keynote speakers. This year’s theme is Be Your Own Superhero. What’s that in the sky? It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s FIU! Find out more about their center here.

5) The Women’s Leadership and Resource Center: The University of Illinois, Chicago (AANAPISI)— Chicago, IL


The Women’s Leadership and Resource Center of the University of Illinois at Chicago serves as a resource for the entire campus community although they place emphasis on the diverse women population. They work to promote gender equity, raise awareness of gender issues, develop leadership, and celebrate the accomplishments of women. The theme for this year’s Women’s Heritage Month celebration is Reproductive Justice in which programs and conversations will center around reproductive health and sexual freedom. Throughout their celebration the WLRC will host a Reproductive Justice Film Series and at the end of the month there will be a panel discussion about the films. Find out more about their center here.

Know more support centers for women on Minority Serving Institution campuses? Share in the comments below!

Safest MSIs According to Students

by Tania Irwin

1) Gordon College (PBI) – Wenham, Massachusetts


2) New York Institute of Technology (AANAPISI) – Old Westbury, New York


3) Woodbury University (HSI) – Burbank, California


4) CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice (HSI) – New York, New York


5) Mercy College (HSI) – Dobbs Ferry, New York


To view the full list, click here.


4 HBCUs with Entrepreneurship Opportunities

by Aisha Bowen

HBCUs across the country teach their students to be self-sufficient and self-sustaining. To build these values, HBCUs provide opportunities for students—and surrounding community members—to buy and sell their own products. Thus, today’s Monday Morning MSI Line Up highlights 4 HBCUs with community entrepreneurship opportunities.

1) Spelman College (HBCU)—Atlanta, GA



Market Friday

Every Friday of the week, Spelman College Student Government Association sponsors what they call “Market Friday” for its students and surrounding community members. Vendors sell things such as jewelry, books, clothing, and paintings. Registered student organizations are only charged $10 for vendor tables, and over 300 students from the AUC (Spelman, Morehouse, and Clark Atlanta) attend each week! In addition to selling products, there is always live music/entertainment and great food!

For more, read here and here.


2) Savannah State University (HBCU)—Savannah, GA


Savannah State Farmers Market

The Savannah State Farmers market was established in 1953 to allow local farmers to sell produce, vegetables, flowers and other healthy products from their own trucks to students and neighbors for a low price. The Farmer’s Market provides a space to support local Black businesses, which a key piece of self-sufficiency. The recent changes in agricultural trade have threatened the livelihood of Savannah State Farmers Market, so to learn more about how you can help, click here!

For more, read here and here.




3) Alabama A&M University (HBCU)—Huntsville, AL

Alabama A&M University

Family Farm and Fleece Day

Alabama A&M’s Family Farm and Fleece Day debuted in 2013. The event is free, open to students and the public, and includes “exhibits, crafters and painters, a benefit auction, farmers market, vendors, door prizes, baking contest and sales, and live music” (source).

This one day event also offers classes in soap making, knitting, and drop spindling (source).


4) Howard University (HBCU)—Washington, D.C.





Howard University Homecoming

Howard University’s homecoming is one of the most epic events the campus each year. In addition to the live entertainment and alumni connections, local Black businesses—both students and community members—come to sell their products during Yardfest each Friday. These products range from mouthwatering soul food and Caribbean cuisine to natural hair products and student clothing lines.

For more information, read here and here.


Know of more HBCUs that provide entrepreneurship opportunities? Share them in the comments below!