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Community Engagement & Service

Alt Break 2016-2017

 Alternative Breaks are year-long, student-led service-learning immersion programs that promote student leadership, equality, ethical volunteering, and social justice by cultivating a society of active citizens with the tools, resources, and experience to be effective leaders and allies within their local and global communities.

Student groups partner with community initiatives on a variety of social justice issues, from immigration rights to environmental protection and defense of freedom and human rights to race/gender/identity issues. Direct engagement occurs in locations across the globe and students have an opportunity to learn from community leaders ranging from New Orleans to Dominican Republic, Texas, and Laos. 

If you're interested in engaging your local and global communities through service, activism, academic inquiry, and leadership, then feel free to explore these pages, contact us with questions, and apply by the posted deadlines. We look forward to you joining us in learning about social justice issues and critically reflecting on our role in the world community.

Are you an AU graduate student passionate about service-learning and education?

Apply to be our summer 2017 Leaps in Learning Initiative teaching fellow. 

The Phaung Daw Oo Monastic High School and American University's Leap In Learning Initiative through the Alternative Breaks office is excited to announce this opportunity for it's fifth summer fellow. 

The program provides travel and a living stipend to one graduate student to spend the summer in Mandalay, Myanmar from June to August 2017.  Fellows will design and teach their "service-learning capstone" course, as well as additional classes of interest. 

The Phaung Daw Oo school (DPO) was founded in 1995 and now offers free education to close to 8 thousand students. 

For more information - contact Christine Gettings at 

Read the full story

Apply by February 24th, 2017!

Recent News

tamil nadu 2016

Our summer participants who travelled to India, Rwanda, and Texas are back!

Our participants who travelled to Tamil Nadu, India, learned about education, equity, and empowerment by working with the community partner Communities Rising. During their 3 week stay, they helped this NGO put on a summer camp for Dalit children. Thank you so much to Communities Rising for hosting AU students. Learn more about the summer camp program by clicking the link to read the newsletter!

Learn more

Contact Us

For more information, feel free to contact:

Alternative Break Office | Center for Community Engagement and Service | MGC 264

Nicole Phillips, Alternative Break Graduate Assistant
(general inquiries)

Christine Gettings, Assistant Director for Global Learning and Leadership, CCES | 202.885.2684

Contact our office

Apply now!

Participant applications for summer 2017 Alternative Break programs are open! The deadline to apply is Sunday, February 12th, 2017 at 11:59 pm.

Click on the links below to apply or learn more! 

Explore our programs

Apply - link opened 12/19!


For the 2016-2017 academic year we are pleased to offer over a dozen programs focused on a variety of social justice issues as diverse as immigration reform to race relations, post-conflict recovery, environmental justice, and statelessness. 

We are also holding two info sessions for summer programs where you can meet leaders and learn more:

Info Session with Leaders and Alums: 
Wed. Jan. 25 | SIS 300 | 6:30 - 8 pm

Information Fair: 
Thurs. Feb. 2 | Battelle Atrium | 7 - 9 pm

You can RSVP for these sessions and learn more by visiting our Facebook page.

Explore our 2016-2017 programs

RSVP for an Info Session

Connect with us!

Important Information: Read Before Traveling

Alternative Breaks are challenging! Please read the following information to learn more about challenges for all trips and those specifically for international trips.

Read Travel Info

Events Calendar RSS

Today's Events Feb 26

  1. Alternative Break

Coming Soon

  1. Alternative Break

  2. Alt Break Active Citizen Day - Breakouts

Full Calendar

Make an e-payment!

The payment schedule for 2016-2017 year is as follows:


1st payment and forms: October 2 

2nd payment: October 30 

3rd payment (winter): December 4 

3rd payment (spring): January 29 


1st payment and forms: February 26 

2nd payment: March 26 

3rd payment: April 23 

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