FLINT, Mich. — Feb. 28, 2014 — Diplomat, the nation’s largest independent specialty pharmacy, will be hosting college students from across the nation next week.

Students from as far away as New Mexico State will be participating in an expanded version of Diplomat’s Alternative Spring Break program that kicks off March 2 in Flint. Also serving with New Mexico State will be students and staff members from Michigan State, Virginia Tech and the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.

Alternative Spring Break (ASB) is a nationwide program that offers community service learning experiences during the traditional college spring breaks, according to Steve Wolbert, Diplomat’s Director of Community Relations and Government Affairs. The students have spent months learning about the culture and history of Flint and once they arrive, they will be immersed in the community with experiential learning opportunities and direct service to non-profits. The program also includes group discussions, readings and reflection activities at a selected site to engage in meaningful action towards a great understanding of root causes of relevant issues.

Diplomat is the primary facilitator between the students and various community organizations in the Flint area. Wolbert said that as they enter the fifth year of the program, they continue to look for key indicators that the program is successful.

“The most important one, without a doubt, is seeing the students’ perceptions of our community change during their time here,” stated Wolbert. “Typically, when the students first arrive they are nervous about coming to our community. If we have done our job, by the time they leave, they love Flint! The 1,000-plus hours of community service they will have accomplished is a secondary focus.”

Activities for their respective weeks in Flint will include city tours, working with Genesee County Habitat for Humanity, Carriage Town Mission, St. Luke N.E.W. Life Center, North End Soup Kitchen, Boys & Girls Club of Greater Flint and assisting Kettering University with a neighborhood cleanup of the Mott Park area. Each morning students will work with various community organizations in the Flint area. Afternoons will be spent volunteering at local schools working and tutoring students. ASB students will hear from local community leaders from the non-profit, government and business sector during dinner each evening.

Diplomat’s ASB program is scheduled as follows:

  • University of Michigan-Ann Arbor students will be serving in Flint from March 2-8.
  • Michigan State University, March 3 – 6
  • Virginia Tech, March 8 – 15
  • New Mexico State, March 22-28