UVU Center for Social Impact To Host New 'Breakdown' Student Competition During Spring Break

The Breakdown is a new multi-day learning competition hosted by the Center for Social Impact at UVU, starting on March 9.


Every year, UVU’s Center for Social Impact (CSI) offers alternative spring, summer, and fall breaks to students looking to learn about and support organizations that address social concerns. COVID-19 has cancelled the university’s domestic and international travel plans until further notice, so the CSI has created an alternative to their annual Alternative Spring Break.

The Breakdown is a new multi-day learning competition hosted by CSI at UVU’s main campus. Starting on March 9, 2021, the three-day event will challenge student teams to create strategic solutions to designated social problems.

The four social issues to be explored this year are:

  • Sex trafficking
  • Police brutality
  • Climate change
  • Public health

“As these social issues were front and center in the media throughout 2020, I heard from several people that they wished they had a way to help,” said Taylor Murphy, alternative breaks fellow for CSI. “The Breakdown literally challenges individuals to network with others in order to strategize creative solutions to social issues through diverse lenses and frameworks.”

The competition includes several local keynote speakers that have expertise and personal experiences with the four social issues. CSI staff, student fellows, and associates will serve as resources to both facilitate the competition and guide students through The Breakdown process.

“We want to give students a chance to explore social issues that are important to them while having the opportunity to be in discussion with each other and meet local stakeholders who live through these issues,” said Tino Diaz, CSI program director. “The Breakdown was created to not only be a more doable option in a pandemic. It is also a chance to be more local with the same kind of study and engagement that an alternative break would provide.”

The Breakdown will end with each team pitching their solution to a panel of judges. The winning group will be allowed to select a nonprofit connected to the social issue they addressed and donate the event proceedings to that organization.

“This way, individuals can say that they did more than just learn about a social issue and come up with a theoretical solution for it,” Murphy said. “They will also make a direct impact towards improving that social issue.”

While the issues addressed during The Breakdown are important, Diaz understands that it’s equally important to engage college students in searching for solutions.

“Students have historically changed the world,” said Diaz. “When students become aware of an issue, investigate it, and act on a desire to see the world become a better place, not just for themselves but also marginalized peoples such as BIPOC groups, working-class communities, immigrants, refugees, and the undocumented, people with disabilities, and the LGBTQ community, they participate in a call that demands a new way of existing where all live better.”

Tickets to participate in The Breakdown are required and are available through University Tickets.