History: Break for a Change is a program at Duke University created, run, and taught by students. In the fall of 1994, a small group of students founded BFC in response to the dearth of non-denominational alternative spring break programs at Duke. After compiling source materials they created BFC.s first house course: Hunger and Homelessness in America. Traveling to Atlanta, Georgia, the participants experienced the first BFC spring break trip and returned eager to continue this unique form of peer education.
The Break for a Change model was expanded in 1995-1996, with the addition of 2 new programs, AIDS in America and Native American Issues. Utilizing the advantages of a student forum, BFC brought students together to learn, discuss, and be active around important social issues.
The year of 1997 was one of incredible growth for Break for a Change. What started two years earlier as one trip serving fourteen students exploded into a program offering six trips and serving nearly 100 Duke students. In an effort to meet the amazing student interest, students and faculty collaborated in constructing three new trips: Domestic Violence, Child Advocacy, and Race and Religion. All six trips were repeated in 1998, as BFC strengthened its curriculum, university ties, and funding sources.
In the academic year 1998-1999, two more trips were inaugurated: Welfare in the US, growing out of issues raised in Housing and Homelessness, and Sweatshops, Duke, and the Global Economy, a combined effort with the campus organization Students Against Sweatshops. In addition, a course entitled Peer Education: Theories and Practice was taught in the fall for future teachers. This course develops the tools and methodology for experiential and service learning as well as allowing for resource and information sharing among BFC classes.
Due to accessibility of teachers, BFC modified its course listing for 1999-2000. A new course, Environmental Justice, was instigated in response to student health, and a new campus collaboration with the North Carolina Student Rural Health Coalition was formed, resulting in an eighth BFC class, Issues in Rural Health. In the past couple of years, class offerings have been updated to include topics such as Welfare in America: How and Why, Poverty and Privilege, AIDS and HIV, and The United States of Immigrants. With these new courses, Break for a Change continues to develop and strengthen its role in understanding and inspiring social consciousness through political education.
Structure: Break for a Change is overseen by a collective, in which members who have taken or facilitated classes meet to discuss various aspects of Break for a Change. These members meet as a whole to discuss BFC.s current status and its future, but are also broken into various committees like publicity, finances, and organization.