Howard University (36385)

Alternative Spring Break project students from Howard University are participating in Mayor Ras Baraka’s Model Neighborhood Initiative cleanup in Newark this week.

They will be joined by other neighborhood volunteers and will focus on “the model street,” Seymour Avenue, between Avon and Hawthorne avenues.

Fifty students, including some from Newark, are already performing volunteer work at various sites throughout the city and will conclude with a community-engagement walk, another civic participation initiative by Baraka, at week’s end.

Baraka and his late father, the pioneering revolutionary artist Amiri Baraka, are both Howard University alumni.

Alternative Spring Break was launched in 1994 to provide Howard University students with a meaningful, constructive “alternative” to the usual spring break activities.

The aftermath of the Katrina disaster in New Orleans inspired the growth of the project, which has since appeared in several cities, including New Orleans, Memphis, Detroit, Washington, D.C., St. Louis, Chicago and Baltimore. Project members have also served abroad in Haiti.

The project has been featured on BET, MSNBC, CNN and ABC and in the Chicago Tribune and the Detroit Free Press.

Last year, Howard University was named to President Barack Obama’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest distinction a higher education institution can receive for community service.