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One Incredible Experience, Two Generous Opportunities

NC State students working with children

[lead]University fall and spring breaks are, for many students, a coveted week of relaxation, but at NC State we ask our students to Think and Do the Extraordinary.[/lead]

This means going beyond with every opportunity given to them. The Alternative Service Break (ASB) program within the Division of Academic and Student Affairs is one such opportunity.

During their fall or spring breaks, students gain a unique learning experience in which they engage in direct service to a community while being immersed in the culture. Led by students and accompanied by faculty advisors, team members participate in a variety of cultural, educational, recreational, and reflective activities to enhance their service experience within North Carolina or around the world.

As with most travel experiences, there is a financial obligation involved with the ASB program but those expenses can be reduced thanks to two new scholarships in honor of amazing people creating an incredible experience for NC State students.

From Rory, ‘een saxan’ (with love)

“When they got off the plane or ferry she’d greet each one by name while giving them a huge bear hug,” wrote Stan North Martin, a former trip advisor for the program, “That was Rory. Always humbly giving of herself, but becoming a huge presence in the life of those she encountered.” It was this huge presence that helped Rory Callanan Schneeberger gain approval from the community of Hoonah, Alaska, and the Native Alaskan Tlingit village to host a “shy ye di héni gooch” or “pack of wolves” from NC State.

Rory believed having NC State students be a part of Hoonah’s schools and service programs would be a boon to the community, while also impacting the lives of the students through Native Alaskan cultural immersion. And she couldn’t have been more right, “Rory was someone who always saw the possibilities of what could be,” said Martin, “She had a heart of service, embodying the service learning so central to the NC State ASB experience.”

The ASB-Alaska program’s success was possible, not just because of Rory’s efforts, but also those of Peter Schneeberger, Rory’s spouse who helped her co-found the program, and Roger Callanan, Rory’s brother who was also a former ASB trip advisor and now an NC State retired faculty member and alumnus. Now her family, friends, and Alaska ASB alumni are turning the sadness of her passing into the gladness brought on by her legacy. The Rory Callanan Schneeberger Alternative Service Break – Alaska Scholarship has been created to assist with the financial needs of ASB-Alaska students hoping, like Rory, to share deeply of themselves through service and always show respect for their elders, while being reverent, patient, and at peace toward what life brings.

The scholarship is available from Rory, een saxan ka gunalechéesh (with love and thanks).

A Parent’s Gift

As parents of two NC State students, Allan and Lisa VanBuhler understand the value and quality of the Think and Do mission at NC State University but the couple became even more aware of the importance of a comprehensive education, one that extends inside and outside of the classroom, after both their son, Christopher, and daughter, Megan, experienced the Alternative Service Break program. Christopher traveled to the Dominican Republic in 2015, while Megan served a community in Costa Rica in 2017.

The experiences of her children peaked the interests of Lisa who already owned a student travel business and was a travel and service enthusiast. The same year her son was in the Dominican Republic, Lisa participated in her own ASB-Nicaragua experience made available to alumni and community partners, quickly realizing the value of international travel and service to those communities in need.

Allan and Lisa’s relationship with NC State only grew stronger, with Lisa joining the Division of Academic and Student Affairs Board of Student Success thereby volunteering her time and professional expertise. It was during this time Lisa came to believe all students should have access to the ASB experience. To this end, they created the Lisa and Allan VanBuhler Family Alternative Service Break Scholarship to help students of all backgrounds and financial means have access to the transformative ASB experience.

Allan and Lisa might not be NC State alumni, but their passion for the university is as strong as any in the Wolfpack, made evident through this gift from two loving parents.

For information on supporting the Alternative Service Break program, please contact Nicole Peterson at or (919) 513-1337.