Academics

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 community engagement in a variety of contexts, from providing childcare in a homeless shelter to 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 20 people. 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 in Alma Connect.

Multiple Alternative Break opportunities are offered to students during academic breaks. These service experiences are available at affordable costs for travel, room and board.

Alternative Spring Breaks: February 2023

Applications open here December 5 at 7:30am. 

Spaces to be assigned based on the order applications are received.

Serve and connect with fellow students who share an interest in one of the following topics:

Alternative Break Description Dates Location

Local Engagement

with

Gender Affirming Closet, Gratiot Community Garden & Greater Lansing Food Bank

LGBTQ+: Monday February 27 & Tuesday, February 28 - help the Gender Affirming Closet switch out seasonal winter clothes to spring clothes which will include washing the clothes and tracking inventory. May include craft and jewlery-making projects as well.
Food Security: Friday March 3 - spend the morning planting seeds for the Gratiot Community Garden and the afternoon at the Greater Lansing Food Bank

February 27 & 28

March 3

Mid-Michigan

Environmental Sustainability

Joshua Tree National Park

CLOSED - FULL

Volunteers will work on outdoor maintenance and clean up projects, such as roadside brush clearance. 

Feb. 25 - March 5 

Joshua Tree National Park, CA

Animal Welfare

with
Horse Creek Animal Sanctuary

 

CLOSED - FULL

Horse Creek Wildlife Sanctuary and Animal Refuge provides medical care for and houses abandoned and abused dogs and seeks good, caring homes for them. Volunteers will work on a variety of projects both with the dogs and in the maintenance of the property.

Feb 26 - March 5

 

Hardin County, TN

Housing Security

with

Habitat for Humanity

CLOSED - FULL

Support disaster recovery from Hurricane Ian, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity, whose vision is a world where everyone has a decent place to live. 

Feb 25 - March 5

 

Florida 

Alternative Winter Breaks: December 2022

Not currently accepting applications.

Serve and connect with fellow students who share an interest in one of the following topics:

Alternative Break Description Dates Location

Food Security 

with

First Presbyterian Church of Alma and Greater Lansing Food Bank

Sort donations at the food bank and assist with food delivery programs at the First Presbyterian Church of Alma. Sign up for one session or both.

A. December 12&13

B. December 14&15

Lansing and Alma, Michigan

LGBTQ+ 

with
LGBT Detroit and Gratiot Gender Affirming Closet

The mission of LGBT Detroit is to increase awareness of and support to Detroit’s dynamic LGBT culture through education and advocacy with integrity and pride. Engagements will include assisting with a holiday party, health fair, and education program, and learning about the organization and affiliates

December 10-17

Detroit, Michigan

Disaster Relief 

with

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance

Support disaster recovery from Hurricane Florence in New Bern, North Carolina. Participants should be prepared for physical work outdoors in an weather.

December

10 - 17

New Bern,

North Carolina

Environmental Stewardship

with

Everglades and Biscayne National Parks

Volunteers will work on outdoor maintenance and clean up projects, such as trail maintenance. Participants should be prepared for physical work outdoors in any weather.

December 10 - 17

Biscayne and Everglades National Parks, Florida

Children’s Health 

with

St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital

Volunteer in support of St. Jude’s. Be prepared to do whatever we can to help - no job is too small! Expect to participate in support for fundraising programming, among other tasks. In partnership with TKE.

December 10 - 17

Memphis, Tennessee

Alternative Fall Breaks: October 2022

Not currently accepting applications.

Serve and connect with fellow students who share an interest in one of the following topics:

Alternative Break Description Dates Location

Food Security

with the

Gratiot Community Garden

Greater Lansing Food Bank

Support a variety of mid-Michigan partners working to alleviate food insecurity. Expect active outdoor work completing end-of-season maintenance at the community garden as well as indoor tasks sorting donations and assisting with food distributions.

October

13 &15

Alma &

Lansing

Environmental Stewardship

with the

Friends of the Fred Meijer Heartland Trail

Participate in trail maintenance on the Fred Meijer Heartland Trail in Gratiot County, including brush trimming and removal. Expect to be active outdoors throughout each day, including walking to and from the project site.

October

14 - 15

Alma

LGBTQ+ Support

with the

Gratiot Gender Affirming Closet

Help sort, wash, and organize donations to the Gender Affirming Closet at Alma College, which provides gender-affirming clothing and accessories to members of the campus and Gratiot community.

October

13

Alma

Disability Support

with

Day Dreams Inc. 

Sort donations and organize merchandise at the Day Dreams Resale Shop, which supports vocational and social opportunities for adults with disabilities.

October 15

Ithaca

* All costs for Fall Breaks will be covered by the Alma Venture program. There is no cost to participants.