Miner Challenge is Missouri S&T's Alternative Break Program. Every year, students engage in immersive volunteer experiences across the U.S. and internationally. Participants bond with a small team throughout the year while they develop leadership skills, gain awareness of social issues, and work to improve communities. The experience culminates with an alternative break service trip over Spring Break that lasts 8 days.
Miner Challenge is student led. Our two Miner Challenge Mentors work closely with our Trip Leaders to plan and execute all of our program's fundraisers and service trips. Trip Leaders are volunteer student leaders who are tasked with developing their alternative break trip, social issue, service work, and guide their team through the Miner Challenge experience. As our leaders take charge to make a change in their world, they develop leadership skills and deepen their knowledge of social issues, active citizenship, and managing diverse groups.
Many students join Miner Challenge to meet new people, have new experiences, and do volunteer work. Miner Challenge offers a great way to get involved on campus, learn about oneself, travel, volunteer, and make new friends. Students love it so much that 97% of last year's participants would recommend our program! As student interest grows, we are looking forward to adding more trip locations and adapting our program to meet the desires of our students and the needs of the world.
Miner Challenge Mentors and Trip Leaders are chosen the spring prior to their leadership roles, and spend the summer working to develop exciting trips that will meet a community's needs by concentrating on a specific social issue. Participant teams are chosen in October, and will work together throughout the year, guided by the Trip Leaders, to get to know each other and prepare for their service experience. The team will meet weekly and engage in social and local service events, help raise funds for the program, and learn about social justice and civic engagement. Teams will then embark on their Miner Challenge trips and will work to fill needs in the communities, learn about their community partners, and do some exploring!
The Miner Challenge Program is a self-sustaining program that receives no university funding. It is our goal to cover programmatic costs while still offering a low, accessible cost to participants. We are only able to accomplish this by engaging in fundraising activities throughout the year. Students participate in various fundraisers, such as selling homemade cookie dough and chocolate covered strawberries and a letter writing campaign, to help raise funds for the entire program. The typical 8 day domestic trip for 12 students costs about $5,000 and includes transportation, fod, housing, group activities, and the service experience. Participants pay a low fee of $300 for the experience and work together to raise funds to make the program and its mission possible. Raised funds go completely towards covering trip and programmatic costs, as well as providing scholarships to students who wish to participate but may not have the financial resources.