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. These service experiences are available at affordable costs for travel, room and board.

2021 Winter Breaks: December 11-18

Click here to apply to Winter 2021 Alternative Breaks!

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until filled. Once offered a spot, payment of the student participation fee secures your seat on the trip.

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

Alternative Break Description Cost* Location

Local Community Engagement: Various Partners 

December 11 - 12

Volunteers will support the local community through different projects at the Greater Lansing Food Bank (in Lansing), Hope House (in St. Louis), and other organizations centered on food security, homelessness, and people with disabilities.

Student Participation Fee: $0


Alma and Ithaca, MI

Animal Welfare: Horse Creek Animal Sanctuary

December 12 - 18

Horse Creek Wildlife Sanctuary and Animal Refuge is located in Hardin County, Tennessee, near Savannah. It 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 the maintenance of the property.

Student Participation Fee: $100

Remaining cost (Venture-eligible): $150

Savannah, TN

Environmental Stewardship: Joshua Tree National Park

December 12 - 18

Two distinct desert ecosystems, the Mojave and the Colorado, come together in Joshua Tree National Park. Volunteers will work on outdoor maintenance and clean up projects, such as roadside brush clearance.

Student Participation Fee: $300

Remaining cost (Venture-eligible): $630

Joshua Tree National Park, CA

Food Security: Martha’s Village and Kitchen

December 12 - 18

Martha’s Village serves over a quarter of a million hot nutritional meals annually to more than 6,000 impoverished children and adults. Volunteers will work with a variety of food security projects.

Student Participation Fee: $300

Remaining cost (Venture-eligible): $630

Indio, CA

* Cost includes transportation, accommodation, and meals.