Alternative Break FAQs

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Q. What is Alternative Break?

A. Alternative Spring Break (ASB) is a service-immersion experience where students spend their academic breaks addressing critical issues throughout the country. The mission of Alternative Break is to empower participants to progress from members of their community to active citizens. With education, direct service, and reflection as a guide, participants embrace self-discovery and foster a sense of social awareness.

Q. How much does it cost to participate in AB?

A. The cost of the AB program varies from year-to-year. Please see our Alternative Break Trips page for information on this year's fees. All payments are non-refundable. Financial aid is available on a case-by-case basis; please email Stephanie Visser at for more information.

Q. How does the application process work?

A. Applications will become available at the end of August. Applications are due in October or November. Applications will be reviewed by the AB Leadership Board and the Center for Civic Engagement staff. Following a review of written applications, AB student leaders will contact applicants to schedule an interview. Applicants should hear about a decision by mid-to-late November. We strive to make trips as diverse (i.e. class year; major; social identity) as possible.

Q. How many people go on each AB trip and what are the dates of the trip?

A. Each Maymester Alternative Break team consists of up to 7 student participants, 2 student Site Leaders, and 1 faculty/staff advisor. The fall break, weekend, and spring break trips will consist of 11 student participants, 2 student Site Leaders, and 1 faculty/staff advisor.

Q. Do I get to choose where I go? When will I find out my trip?

A. No, you do not get to choose your trip destination. We make every effort as possible to match the type of trip you express interest in with your trip assignment, but we can't guarantee that you will be given your first choice or even second choice. You will find out your trip assignment when AB positions are offered in November.

Q. Where do volunteers stay during the trip?

A. Housing conditions are usually rustic. Think simple and sustainable living. Volunteers will stay in modest housing community centers, local churches, hostels or camp facilities. Certain sites may require participants to bring bedding or a sleeping bag. Site leaders will provide more information prior to departure.

Q. How do we travel to sites?

A. Most trips will fly or take a rental van to their destination.

Q. Why is the program fee non-refundable?

A. The reason that the program fee is non-refundable is that program fees are used by the Center for Civic Engagement to pay for non-recoverable expenses in advance of the trips. An expense becomes non-recoverable when it has already been paid out to a vendor. Non-recoverable expenses vary by individual trip and may include, but are not limited to airfare, housing, program fees, transportation and administrative fees.

Q. What do we do at the Thursday night meetings in the spring and do I need to attend those meetings?

A. The AB program is more than just a trip to another community. Each team meets regularly on select Thursday nights in the spring semester from 4-6 pm to team build; participate in educations, orientations, and pieces of training on the social issue, community partner, and site. Attendance is required as it a foundational part of the program. Failure to attend these meetings may result in your dismissal from the program.


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