Alternative Fall Breaks Include Local Service Options

Students learn about the impact of genocide, interact with special needs youth, remove invasive shrubs and participate in wildlife rehabilitation during fall break.

Alma College's mission is to prepare graduates who think critically, serve generously, lead purpo... Alma College's mission is to prepare graduates who think critically, serve generously, lead purposefully and live responsibly as stewards of the world they bequeath to future generations.


Students of Alma College strive to take this mission statement and transform it into a way of living. One example of these efforts is the nearly 200 students who participate in the Alma College Alternative Break Program. 

This program began in 2003 as a single service trip with 20 participants. Students now participate in 10 or more volunteer opportunities throughout the course of the academic year. 

Alma College had the third highest percentage of alternative breakers last year according to the Break Away national survey. A total of 193 schools responded to this survey hosted by the national organization supporting the development of alternative break experiences. 

Alternative Fall Breaks offer several one- or two-day trips across the State of Michigan. Meanwhile, the holiday and spring service options allow students to serve throughout the nation for an entire week. More information on fall service and upcoming trip options can be found at

“I went on my first Alternative Break in the spring of 2017. The destination was Mammoth Caves National Park and the experience was wonderful,” says program student co-leader Erin Goggins of Hastings. “Learning about the environment, making new friends and serving others have made this program extremely important to me.” 

“Helping others become active citizens in the community is something else that I find especially great about organizing these trips,” says Goggins. “I am thankful that Alma College has provided me with the opportunity to do this.” 

Alma College Alternative Fall Breaks: Oct. 12-Oct. 16 

Multiple Day Options 

Children with Special Needs—Fowler Center, Mayville (Oct. 12-14)

A team of Alma College students assist with a weekend camp for children with special needs. Students may work with campers during activities or aid in event preparation. 

Peacemaking—St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Beulah (Oct. 13-14)

Students will meet Rwandan Pastor Jerome Bizimana Nkumbuyinka. They will hear about the continued development of Rwanda since the 1994 genocide and serve the area through food rescue/recovery and housing projects. 

Various 3-5 Hour Sessions Throughout Break 

Environmental—Forest Hill Nature Area, Gratiot County (Oct. 15)

Volunteers help care for this nearby area by removing invasive shrubs or working to maintain trails. 

Food Insecurity—Greater Lansing Food Bank, Lansing (Oct. 15)

The Greater Lansing Food Bank works to provide nutritious food for the community. Volunteers may help in either the warehouse or garden. 

Wildlife Rehabilitation—Howell Nature Center (Oct. 14)

Each year, nearly 4,000 orphaned, injured or displaced animals are brought to the clinic in attempts to help them heal, grow and be released back into the wild. Participants aid in these endeavors at Michigan’s largest wildlife rehabilitation clinic.

Story published on October 18, 2018