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. 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 were the potential social issues and community partners for the 2018/2019 year? (this is a work in progress!)
Site Descriptions, Information/Expectations and Student Agreement
Alternative Fall Break - Keeping It In The Mitten - October 13-16
Register for Fall Break on Helper Helper
- Children/Adults with Special Needs - The Fowler Center, Mayville (tentative)
- Food Insecurity - Greater Lansing Food Bank, Warehouse and Garden in Lansing
- “Rock the Block” - Habitat for Humanity of Gratiot/Isabella Counties
- Animal Welfare (wildlife) - Howell Nature Center
- Environmental - Forest Hills Nature Area
- Peacemaking - Rwandan Pastor visiting in Beulah
Alternative Holiday Break: December 15-22 (travel days will vary)
Online applications available in October
- Urban Poverty: Center for the Homeless, South Bend, Indiana (Fri-Tues)
- Children’s Health: Ronald McDonald House, Memphis, Tennessee (Sun-Fri)
- Environmental Stewardship: Biscayne and Everglades National Parks, FL (Sun-Sat)
- Animal Welfare: Horse Creek Wildlife Sanctuary, Savannah TN
Alternative Spring Break: February 25 - March 3
- Food Insecurity: YMCA of Western North Carolina, Asheville
- Diversity/Inclusion: Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia
- Rural Poverty: Appalachian Service Project, Chavies KY
- Health Care: SERVE901, Memphis TN
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. Some of our student leaders include Laine Krueger, Erin Goggins, Olivia McKeith and Austin Barajas.