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 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 potential 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 will have the opportunity to work in homeless shelters in Memphis, TN. Tasks may include serving food, folding clothes, and laying mulch. We will also be spending time in a local school with the Champions Teachers and Urban Education movement. Our time here will be spent painting, reading with students, and having the opportunity to rally alongside educations if desired.
    • Environmental Stewardship in the Florida Keys (Closed - at capacity)
      • Everglades National Park is a 1.5-million-acre wetland preserve in the southern tip of Florida. Here participants will be taking 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 will be contributing to 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

Please check back in early January 2020 for Spring Alternative Break applications. Use the form below to submit your own idea. 

Have an idea for a future Alternative Break? 

Submit this form to have your proposal reviewed by our committee of student leaders and staff members. The deadline for Spring 2020 Alternative Break proposals is Sunday, January 12th, 2020.

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What break are you proposing this for?*
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What method(s) of travel would the proposed Alternative Break require?*
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Does the proposed host site provide housing accommodations?*
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Has this organization hosted an Alma College Alternative Break before?*
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If you have questions, contact Carla Jensen at (989) 463-7421 or visit her office located in the Center for Student Opportunity.