Alternative Breaks

Our Mission

Alma College Alternative Breaks provide transformative opportunities through direct, hands-on service, education, and reflection that seeks to meet the needs of our local, national, and global community.

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 over 100 participants each 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. Alternative Breaks encourages full engagement through living and eating simply, limiting technology and being alcohol- and drug-free. Curious about what Alternative Break is like? Ask one of the student leaders listed below.

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 travel, room and board.

What are the social issues and community partners for the 2019/20 year? 

Alternative Winter Break, December 14 - 21 (specific dates may vary by break)

Applications for Winter 2019 are now closed. 
  • Education and Urban Insecurity in Memphis, TN
    • In collaboration with Serve901, participants worked in homeless shelters in Memphis, TN. Tasks included serving food, folding clothes, and laying mulch. We also spent time in a local school with the Champions Teachers and Urban Education movement. Our time three was spent painting, reading with students, and having the opportunity to rally alongside educators.
  • Environmental Stewardship in the Florida Keys
    • Everglades National Park is a 1.5-million-acre wetland preserve in the southern tip of Florida. Here participants took part in a project to paint and maintain buildings in the park as well as possible trail maintenance and trash pick-up. The Florida Keys Wild Bird Center is located in Key Largo and is home to a bird rehabilitation center and sanctuary. While there, participants contributed to the beautification of the sanctuary by filling dead space in the trails with a garden as well as general trail maintenance and trash pick-up.


 Alternative Spring Breaks: Week of February 24, 2020

Applications for Spring 2020 are now closed.
  • Environmental Stewardship at the Grand Canyon-$300
    • Students will participate in conservation activities by assisting in the National Parks Service’s multiple on-going projects.

  • Animal Welfare at the Horse Creek Wildlife Sanctuary and Animal Refuge-$125
    • Support the sanctuary’s work with rescued dogs and puppies through a variety of work with the animals, grounds, and facilities. 
  • Affordable Housing in Salem County, New Jersey-$125
    • Participants will work alongside Habitat for Humanity of Salem County, New Jersey to build and repair the homes of Salem County residents who may not be able to afford them without assistance. 

If you have questions, contact Maddie Wentworth at (989) 463-7172 or visit her office located in the Center for Student Opportunity.