2018 Zero Week Alternative Break to Warm Springs, Oregon - The 2018 dates are June 18 to June 23! 

Apply online now. The Priority Deadline is Wednesday April 18, 2018. Applications will be accepted until the trip is full.

Need-based financial assistance is available! If you would like to apply for a travel grant, please review information about the Alternative Break Travel Grant Program administered through the Human Services Resource Center (HSRC). All travel grant applications must be submitted at the time of the trip application. Travel grants must be submitted to HSRC no later than Monday, May 21, 2018.

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.”

What are Alternative Breaks?

Alternative break trips are immersive community-engaged learning experiences focused on personal growth and leadership development through community projects, education sessions, reflection, and teambuilding. An alternative break is a trip that engages a group of students in service and community-based learning, typically for a week. The Alternative Break (AB) program is centered on creating transformative, experiential learning experiences for students through regional, reciprocal campus-community partnerships. Alternative breaks aim to develop the capacity for students to lead for social change. Alternative break trips originated with college students in the early 1980s as a counter to "traditional" spring break trips. Trips usually have a focus on a particular social issue such as, but not limited to, poverty, food insecurity and homelessness, education reform, health and wellbeing, immigration rights, and the environment. Students learn about the social issues, perform projects, and engage in educational sessions with local nonprofit and community-based organizations. Alternative breaks challenge students to critically think and respond to problems experienced by members of the communities in which they are involved. The AB program enables students to immerse themselves in a community to learn about its historical, sociological, cultural and/or political background.  Each AB experience is crafted in collaboration with community partners and community leaders in order to explore the unique culture and social issues of a specific location.  Teams will engage in pre-trip planning and orientation meetings and post-trip debriefing and reflection, a structure that promotes continuous learning through the emphasis on critical reflection, reciprocity, and community building.  

The AB experience encourages students to deconstruct their assumptions and perspectives through learning about the complexity and root causes of social issues while learning about the perspectives of people with different experiences than themselves.  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 difficult conversations, ask questions, examine their beliefs, make mistakes, and confront challenging 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.

Participating in an Alternative Break will be an opportunity to dedicate a week to positively contributing to a community, building relationships, reflecting on social issues, and personal transformation while having fun with fellow OSU students who have made an active commitment to learning and growing through service. Many participants will transfer their experience on-site back to their own communities even after the alternative break ends. It is also a unique opportunity to participate and help to shape a legacy of student civic engagement here at Oregon State University. Visit Alternative Breaks to learn about the program or visit the Center for Civic Engagement in the Student Experience Center Suite 206 to discuss your interests with the staff.

Benefits of participating in an Alternative Break:

  • Engage in meaningful community work to impact change related to an issue you care about
  • Learn about and reflect upon the complexity and interconnectedness of social issues and problems
  • Improve your leadership, critical thinking, and dialogic skills in dynamic real world scenarios
  • Learn about options for continuing community engagement and leadership work upon your return to OSU
  • Build meaningful relationships and a new community of civic-minded OSU students
  • Travel to and learn about regional communities
  • Learn about and explore new perspectives
  • Develop skills in negotiating multiple perspectives and stakeholders’ interests in decision making and actions
  • Develop an increased capacity to work across differences to build community
  • Gain valuable experience for your resume and future professional or educational pursuits
  • Experience a program that will likely inform your future career path and lifestyle through refinement of personal values
  • Learn about yourself, challenge yourself, and have fun
  • Learning outcomes and goals for all trips fall into the following categories:
    • Communication
    • Collaboration and Team Work
    • Civic Engagement & Social Responsibility (knowledge, skills, values, efficacy, commitment)
    • Critical and Systems Thinking
    • Empathy and Respect for Diversity
    • Social Justice and Global Perspectives
    • Sense of Place
    • Change Agent Skills

Participant Expectations:

  • Participate in ALL pre-trip meetings (there will be 2-3 pre-trip meetings) and all group projects, educational, and teambuilding activities to the best of one's ability.
  • Support the mission of Alternative Break as a program that is focused on immersive community-engaged learning experiences centered on personal growth and leadership development through community projects, education sessions, reflection, and teambuilding; this experience is not a vacation or site seeing experience.
  • Be open to processing (at your own comfort level) the Alternative Break experience individually and as a group through organized reflection, journaling, and other activities that suit your reflection preferences.
  • Serve as a positive role model and representative of Oregon State University while on and off campus.
  • Be respectful of diverse community and cultural norms and values (cultural humility) that you may experience in community and/or with members of the Alternative Break team; expect to learn and be challenged.
  • Commit to being an active contributor to your team and show respect for fellow team members, community partners, and populations with whom you are completing projects.
  • Be willing to explore diverse perspectives, opinions and to advance cultural competency and sensitivity.
  • Adhere to OSU Student Conduct Code on trip.
  • Embrace experiences working independently as well as with a team or group.
  • Be organized, self-motivated, adaptable, and flexible.
  • Take responsibility for personal needs and wellbeing including communicating needs to trip leaders.
  • Refrain from the use or possession of alcohol or any controlled substance/drugs for the duration of the experience.
  • Sign an Alternative Break learning agreement.

Participant Eligibility:

  • Must be a currently enrolled OSU student
  • Must be paying student fees at the Corvallis campus
  • Must be in good university standing (academic and student conduct)

2018 Alternative Break Trip – Zero Week

Monday June 18th to Saturday June 23rd (trip will leave early morning on Monday June 18 and return by Mid day on Saturday June 23) 

Native Voices: Exploring Cultural Engagement, Policy Issues, & Community Wellbeing        

Warm Springs, Oregon                     Trip Cost: $100 (includes 4 dinners, 1 lunch) 

Discover various factors impacting cultural engagement, tribal policy and community wellbeing in Warm Springs by exploring elements of tribal governance, food sourcing, and community and cultural activities.  Through educational sessions and direct community projects, we will explore community gardens and sustainability, tribal government and jurisprudence, energy policy, economic development and social and cultural events that all impact the Warm Springs community.  During our trip activities will include educational sessions covering a wide range of topics related to tribal life, challenges, and solutions.  We will focus on engaging counter narratives and exploring the impact of settler colonialism upon indigenous communities. Some community engagement opportunities include working on landscaping at a senior living facility, working at a community garden, food preservation, hiking on the reservation, learning about the services and programs put on by OSU Extension for the community, and visiting the Museum at Warm Springs. The trip will also include a BBQ with OSU Extension staff and tribal members. We will staying on the Reservation of the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs, home to the Warm Springs, Wasco, and Paiute tribes after they were forcibly removed from land across the northwest. The Warm Springs Reservation is inhabited by nearly 4,000 tribal members, most of whom live in or around the town of Warm Springs.

Note:  Lodging will be at Kah-Nee-Ta (a tribally owned and operated hotel). Trip fee includes transportation, lodging, and 4 dinners that will be prepared and shared together as a group.  You will be responsible for your meals on travel days as well as for purchasing materials for meals not provided (breakfast and lunch).  There will be space available to prepare breakfast, pack a lunch, and cook dinner.


Note: As part of the Alternative Break experience, you may be asked to sleep in a mixed gendered room/environment. If you have concerns or would like more information, please contact Emily Bowling at emily.bowling@oregonstate.edu or 541-737-7673 and we will do our best to meet sleeping preferences and needs.

Alternative Breaks can be physically, emotionally, and mentally challenging as a result of the immersive nature of the trips and completing service projects, often requiring physical labor and reflection activities over the course of a 5 to 6 day period. Participants are asked and encouraged to take responsibility for their wellbeing and experience during the trip by planning ahead and making needs known to the team and trip leaders.


Deposit and Trip Fees for Alternative Break Trips 

Every participant is responsible for paying the trip fee; estimated trip cost is above. The actual trip cost may be lower than estimated. Please note that there is the ability for applicants to apply for Alternative Break Travel Grants. The Alternative Break Travel Grant Program is a financial need-based grant awarded to students applying to an alternative break trip. The travel grants are administered and awarded through the Human Services Resource Center. The purpose of the Travel Grants is to reduce accessibility barriers related to financial need for students wanting to participate in an immersive community-based learning experience. This is a separate application available online that should be submitted at the time of your Alternative Break program application.

You must accept your spot via email to hold your spot.  Thus, please be sure the email address you supply is one that you check regularly. The Center for Civic Engagement will provide fundraising resources to you.  A non-refundable trip deposit of 50% of the total fee will be due Friday, May 11th at 5:00 pm. If we do not reach at least 8 trip participants for a trip by May 11, 2018, the trip may be canceled. In this case, you will be refunded in full for any deposit you have made.

Checks or money orders need to be made payable to “Center for Civic Engagement—MSICCE” and dropped off the Student Experience Center Front Desk. In the memo line, please write your name, AB, and Warm Springs. Final payment due dates will be communicated after trip selections have been made.

Trip Refund and Cancelation Policy: The trip deposit is non-refundable. If you have extenuating, unexpected medical, academic, or family/personal circumstances that are out of your control and need to cancel from the trip, you may be reimbursed for any expenses that the Center for Civic Engagement can recover. The emergency must arise before the trip starts to receive any refund. Students will be asked to provide a signed request for any partial refund that summarizes the extenuating circumstances. Please communicate any need to cancel as soon as possible so we can work with you. If you are or the Center for Civic Engagement is able to identify a replacement participant that meets trip criteria, a full refund may be possible.


Priority deadline for applications is Wednesday, April 18, 2018 at 5PM. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until trip is full.

Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331

Online Information: Alternative Break Application

Selections are based on the timeliness and quality of the applications and based upon crafting Alternative Break teams representing diversity in experience and perspectives.

Applicants will be notified of the selection outcomes during the week of April 23rd.



For questions regarding Alternative Break Trip - Zero Week, please contact Emily Bowling, Oregon State University, Center for Civic Engagement, at emily.bowling@oregonstate.edu or 541-737-7673.

If accommodations for disability are needed in order to participate in the trip, please contact Emily Bowling at emily.bowling@oregonstate.edu or 541-737-7673, preferably one month in advance due to the immersive nature of the experience.