Bryant student with boxes packed as part of service project at Cribs for Kids
Thobani Nxumalo ’19 shows off some of the 5,000 boxes assembled at Cribs for Kids in Pittsburgh, PA, as part of the 2018 Alternative Spring Break project.
Learning by giving: Alternative Spring Break inspires students to initiate change
Jun 15, 2018

Although many students seek the sun and fun during spring break, some Bryant undergraduates do something very different with their down time each year: helping those in need by participating in a program called Alternative Spring Break.

The program, started three years ago, was made possible by George Agostini, Chairman and CEO of Agostini Bacon Construction, and his wife, Mary. The family gift funds a program, events, and services that help Christian and Catholic students deepen their faith through service, spiritual development, and educational programming.

“These young men and women return having experienced a change – they want to go out and improve the world, and what more could you ask for?”

These goals are important to the Agostinis, a deeply faithful family that has developed a strong bond with the University community over several years. The family’s philanthropic engagement with Bryant has also provided scholarships for students with financial need.

Bryant innovation benefits babies

Students used their innovation skills on the 2018 trip to Pittsburgh, PA, in March. At Cribs for Kids, an organization focused on infant sleep safety, the volunteers packed information and gift kits for new parents and their babies. Before getting to work, the students analyzed and refined the packing process. They assembled 5,000 kits in one day – more than any other volunteer group in the organization’s history.

Each year, the program sends a group of about 15 students to a different U.S. destination, where they spend time at a variety of charitable organizations. The 2018 trip included time spent at Little Sisters for the Poor and the Boys and Girls Club. When the work was done, they also visited local Pittsburgh-area museums and ate at the legendary Primanti Bros. sandwich shop.

Inspired to improve the world

“Mr. and Mrs. Agostini have changed my life, as well as the lives of all Alternative Spring Break participants at Bryant,” says Catherine Benetti ’18. “They are genuine in striving to make the world a better place. Through their selfless giving, they have challenged every participating student to look beyond themselves, and look forward to a better future.”

The Agostinis "are genuine and sincere in striving to make the world a better place, and they have instilled those goals in me."

“By attending the Alternative Spring Break for the past two years, I was able to make a difference in communities other than my own, have new experiences, and make memories I otherwise would not have,“ says Christopher Sherman ’19. “I am very grateful to the Agostinis, who are so generous to fund the trip so students like me are able to travel around the country to help less fortunate people.”

The Agostinis are gratified that the program has such a profound effect on the students. Following each trip, a dinner and reception give the program participants time to reflect on their experiences and talk with the Agostinis about what they learned.

“That’s the beauty of it,” says George Agostini, recalling the moving student feedback from the last three years.  “It would be a wonderful world if everyone cared about one another. These young men and women return having experienced a change – they want to go out and improve the world, and what more could you ask for?"

To learn more about dedicated funding for educational opportunities at Bryant, contact a gift officer at 877-353-5667 to make a gift today.

Read More

Related Stories