Applications for 2019 Alternative Spring Break available this coming November! 

2019 Alternative Spring Break Trips: Saturday, March 23 to Saturday, March 30, 2019.

2019 Alternative Break Zero Week Trip: Monday, June 17 to Saturday June 22, 2019. 

Alternative Break

Break away from apathy. Break away from the expected. Break away from the status quo. Apply for an alternative break trip.

Learn more about our three spring break programs and our zero week program (Warm Springs). Fill out a participant application for Warm Springs Zero Week Program.

Interested in more leadership and responsibility? Consider being an alternative break trip leader! Learn more here.

Our Mission

The Alternative Break (AB) program is centered on creating transformative, experiential learning opportunities for students through regional, reciprocal campus-community partnerships. Alternative breaks aim to develop the capacity for students to lead for social change. Alternative breaks enable students to immerse themselves in a community to learn its historical, sociological, cultural and/or political background.  Each AB experience is crafted in collaboration with community in order to explore some of the unique cultural and social issues of a specific location. The AB experience encourages students to critically analyze their assumptions and mindsets through learning about the complexity of social problems.  Being immersed in community environments enables participants to experience, discuss, and understand social issues in a significant way. The learning occurs for students as they are asked to be willing to engage in challenging reflections and conversations, ask questions, examine their beliefs, make mistakes, and confront difficult issues.  The AB program values holistic, place-based education and creates opportunities that inspire personal growth with focus on short-term relief in addition to long-term sustainable social change. Alternative Break: Bond. Learn. Serve. Transform.

Read what past Alternative Break participants have said about their experiences:

  • “I am amazed, intrigued, and humbled. I will forever hope to continue to grow and open my mind in the way I did on this trip.”
  • “I have formed new relationships with incredible people, have been inspired to be more independent, walked away with more knowledge about life on reservations, and a commitment to make a positive influence in my community.”

Our Guiding Principles

Solidarity Over Charity.

We strongly believe in the importance of recognizing, understanding, and reflecting on our identities and how they impact the communities we work with. On our Alternative Breaks, we emphasize the importance of reciprocity--learning from and working in solidarity with, rather than for others.


As our Alternative Break program delves deeply into the social issues we center on our trips, we recognize that these issues do not exist in a vacuum, rather, are interconnected and powerfully impact one another. We believe it's important to identify and explore the impact of the intersections of social issues and our identities to facilitate effective and meaningful change. Trips utilize fair trade learning to ask participants to consider the social, economic, and environmental impact of their travel and alternative break experience.

Social Change.

As week-long service trips, our Alternative Breaks are largely spent fulfilling short-term community-identified needs, but our work does not end there. For each hour of service, we spend time reflecting on our experience together and with our trip teams, recognizing how much we have accomplished, and identifying the opportunities that lie ahead of us beyond Alternative Break. We must work continuously to transform ourselves to be able to transform our communities.


2017 Alternative Break Fast Facts


Pre-Trip Education Hours


Community Partners Worked With


Service Hours


Education Hours


Miles Traveled


Private Sector Value of AB Service


Read through our break out reports from 2015 and 2014 for a peek at past Alternative Break experiences.


For questions regarding Alternative Break Trips, please contact Erin McIlraith, Civic Engagement Coordinator, at or 541-737-6870.

Accommodations: If accommodations for disability are needed in order to participate in the trip, please contact Erin McIlraith at or 541-737-6870, preferably one month in advance due to the immersive nature of the experience.