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 8 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 sight see, enjoy a local restaurant, or relax with friends. All Alternative Breaks are alcohol- and drug-free. Curious about what Alternative Break is like? Ask students Katherine Vaillancourt, Danny Brandt or Annika Gurrola.
Multiple Alternative Break opportunities are offered to students during academic breaks. With a significant subsidy from the Responsible Leadership Institute (RLI), these service experiences are available at affordable costs for one week of travel, room and board.
What were the social issues and community partners for the 2016/2017 year?
Alternative Fall Break - Keeping It In The Mitten
- Equine Therapy - HopeWell Ranch, Weidman
- Children with Special Needs - The Fowler Center, Mayville
- Hunger - Greater Lansing Food Bank, Lansing
- Urban Farming - The Gleaning, Battle Creek
- Environmental Stewardship - Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Alternative Holiday Break:
- December 16-22 (travel days vary see application)
- Urban Poverty: Center for the Homeless, South Bend, Indiana
- Animal Welfare: Animal Rescue in Appalachia, Harlan, Kentucky (FULL)
- Children’s Health: Ronald McDonald House, Memphis, Tennessee
- January 2-9 (travel days vary, see application)
- Human Trafficking / Refugee Settlement: Medici Project, Atlanta, Georgia
- Affordable Housing, Habitat for Humanity, Athens, Ohio
Alternative Spring Break: (February 25 - March 4, travel days will vary)
- Animal Welfare: Horse Creek Wildlife Sanctuary, Savannah, Tennessee
- Environmental Stewardship: Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
- Disaster Relief: Community Collaborations, Greenwell Springs, Louisiana
- Know Your Neighbors -
- Immigration and Refugees: Explore Michigan’s response, Detroit, MI
- Education / Water Crisis: Social Justice Volunteer Center, Flint, MI
If you have questions, contact Sallie Scheide at (989) 463-7043 or visit the Responsible Leadership Institute office in the Center for Student Opportunity, located in Tyler-VanDusen. Alternative Breaks Board Co-chairs are Annika Gurrola, Amanda McKeith, Aaron Daggett and Sophia Richter