Alternative Spring Break Trips

Apply for alternative break online today! Applicants may also download and submit a paper alternative break application. Priority deadline is Wednesday, December 2, 2015. Applications will be accepted until all three trips are full. We are still accepting applications!

Change, Not Coins: Housing and Food Justice in San Francisco, California

Estimated Trip Cost: $455  (includes 4 dinners and light breakfast) 

Explore the complex, multi-faceted factors at play impacting hunger and homelessness in San Francisco and learn about homelessness issues in major urban areas including the short-term relief and long-term solutions that are being worked for and envisioned. Participants will complete service projects centered on addressing hunger and homelessness while meeting and working alongside local visionaries who actively address these issues in their communities. If you have an interest in learning about homelessness issues in major urban areas, this is the perfect trip for you. The trip will include hands-on direct service work with people experiencing homelessness from diverse backgrounds such as preparing and serving meals. We will also complete indirect service projects, such as facility improvements and assisting organizations prepare for fundraisers, gaining behind the scenes awareness and understanding of organizations that address homelessness. On our community immersion day, we will explore San Francisco and all that it has to offer! 

Note: Lodging will be in a hostel. Trip fee includes transportation, lodging, 4 community dinners that will be prepared and shared as a group at the hostel and light breakfast, which is included at the hostel. Lunch is on your own or prepared together at the hostel (full kitchen available).  You will be responsible for your meals on travel days as well as purchasing materials to pack your lunch and supplement breakfast. You also will be responsible for paying public transportation fees that will total approximately $16 for the week.

San Francisco Alternative Break group at service activities

Tangled Roots: Community & Cultural Engagement in Yakima, Washington

Estimated Trip Cost: $145  (includes 4 dinners)

Uncover the human face and human cost of land acquisition, colonization, and immigration by exploring the influx and interplay of different cultural groups in the Yakima valley by working with the Native American Reservation, Yakama Nation, Latinx migrant workers, and the City of Yakima.  Through direct service work, we will expose the buried roots of the area’s historical relationship to the land and explore implications for the present and future of different cultural groups in the region.  We will see first-hand the human impact and cost of land acquisition and immigration in the pursuit of the "American dream”. During our trip we will work with different populations. We’ll help to teach English language skills to recent Latinx migrant workers, assist with afterschool children’s programs in an American Indian housing community, complete projects alongside members of the community experiencing homelessness, and even work on the land ourselves. The trip begins with an in depth look into the history of Yakama Nation via a visit to the Yakama Nation Cultural Heritage Center. During our community immersion day, the group will elect outings to a local, beautiful hike/park, a community festival, the Allied Arts Center, the Yakima Valley Museum, or the Yakima Area Arboretum.

Note: Lodging will be in a church, community center, or a local farmhouse (In the past, First Baptist Church of Yakima has offered free lodging to the group based on their support of the work and mission of alternative break. The trip is not faith-based and the lodging space is welcoming and affirming to students of diverse faith backgrounds and LGBTQ+ identities). Trip fee includes transportation, lodging, and 4 community 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 breakfast and to pack your lunch. There will be a community kitchen available to prepare breakfast, pack a lunch, and cook dinner.

Yakima Alternative Break group at service activities

Digging Deeper: Environmental Justice in Ashland, Oregon          

Estimated Trip Cost: $225 (includes 4 dinners) 

Discover the pressing environmental conservation and restoration issues in Ashland, Oregon. Participants will complete environmental restoration projects such as creek restoration, planting native plants, mulching, invasive species removal, fertilizing, trail building/maintenance, and restoring bird habitats with a variety of community organizations. Participants will meet with local environmental leaders to learn about threats to the natural environment and local and national legislation that is impacting natural habitats and ecosystems. Lodging will be at a local ranch, Willow-Witt, focused on sustainable farming which will add to participants exploring of holistic sustainability.This trip will include many hands-on, physical projects and possible hikes in the beautiful Pacific Northwest outdoors. Rain jackets, rain pants, and work boots are required for this trip to ensure comfort of the participants. On our community immersion day, we will explore Ashland, go hiking, and/or possibly attend a play at the local Shakespeare Festival.

Note: This trip is one day shorter than the other trips. Trip fee includes transportation, lodging, 4 community 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 breakfast and to pack your lunch. There will be a shared kitchen available to prepare a lunch and cook dinner each day. Lodging will be at a sustainable, zero energy ranch. Sleeping preferences will be collected on a trip information form after trip selection.

Ashland Alternative Break group at service activities

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 Kayla Kosaki at or 541-737-6870 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

Every participant is responsible for paying the trip fee; estimated trip costs are aboveThe actual trip cost may be lower than estimated.

Trip offers will be made before winter break and if selected, you must accept your spot via email within a week to hold your spot.  Thus, please be sure the email address you supply is one that you will be checking regularly. You will have winter break to fundraise if you wish. The Center for Civic Engagement will provide fundraising ideas and resources to you.  A non-refundable trip deposit of 50% of the total trip fee will be due by Monday January 26, 2015.

If we do not reach at least 8 trip participants for a trip by January 26, 2015, the trip may be cancelled. 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—MUNCSC” and dropped off the Student Expereince Center Front Desk. In the memo line, please write your name, AB, and the location/city for your trip. Final payment due dates will be communicated after trip selections have been made. We are also currently working on the ability to pay the trip fee online via credit card.

Trip Refund and Cancellation 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 the 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.


Benefits of participating in an Alternative Break:

  • Engage in meaningful service 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
  • Learn about yourself, challenge yourself, and have fun

Participant Expectations:

  • Participate in ALL pre- and post-trip meetings (there will be 3 pre-trip meetings and 1 post-trip meeting) and all group educational and teambuilding activities.
  • 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 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.
  • Be in good university standing (academic and student conduct); 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.
  • Refrain from the use or possession of alcohol or any controlled substance/drugs for the duration of the experience.


For questions regarding Alternative Break Trips, please contact Kayla Kosaki, Civic Engagement GTA with the Oregon State University Center for Civic Engagement, at or 541-737-3041.

If accommodations for disability are needed in order to participate in the trip, please contact Kayla Kosaki at or 541-737-3041.