Academics

Alternative Breaks

No matter what your interest is, there is an Alternative Break opportunity for you.

Alternative Breaks allow students to spend time doing service work while traveling outside the community. This may involve providing childcare in a homeless shelter or being involved in disaster relief efforts. Whatever you’re doing, you’ll have fun while reflecting on what is important to you in life.

What is Alternative Break like?

Most service teams include eight to 12 people, except when partnering with agencies that provide bus transportation and encourage larger groups of volunteers. Each team has a staff advisor and student leaders. Prior to departure, the entire team meets regularly to better understand what to expect on the trip.

Not surprisingly, Alternative Break opportunities have been well received by Alma College students and staff. The program has grown from a single trip of 20 participants in 2003 to 10 or more weeklong trips during the academic year.

In addition to learning about social issues, Alternative Break participants experience the local culture at their destination. Each service opportunity includes time to sightsee, enjoy a local restaurant, or relax with friends. All Alternative Breaks are alcohol- and drug-free. Curious about what Alternative Break is like? Ask student Lauren Engels.

Multiple Alternative Break opportunities are offered to students during academic breaks. With a significant subsidy from the Responsible Leadership Institute, these service experiences are available at affordable costs for one week of travel, room and board.

Interested in helping to plan or lead an Alternative Break service experience? Contact Sallie Scheide at (989) 463-7043 or visit the RLI office in the Center for Student Opportunity, located in Tyler-VanDusen. Alternative Breaks Board Co-chairs are Lauren Engels (engelsls@alma.edu) and Katherine Vaillancourt (vaillancourtkm@alma.edu).