Alternative Breaks are 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 India and Guatemala to San Francisco and Baltimore.
While orientation, reorientation, and activism activities occur year-round, the direct engagement component of the programs takes place during the winter, spring, and summer breaks. Student leaders facilitate the experience from beginning to end under the guidance of a staff or faculty adviser, making Alternative Breaks unique opportunities for students in a world classroom.
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.
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!
If you need assistance to pay for a program, you can apply for a travel grant.
Travel grant applications are reviewed for financial need level and quality of essay response. You will be notified if you receive a grant before you have to make the first payment installment to hold your spot on the program. The grant will reduce the final amount of the program - it is not applicable to the first payment.
$100 to $500 per person available! Applications open January 12 for summer programs, and are due February 4th (the same day as participant applications).
Some students, depending on their individual aid packages, may be able to use their Financial Aid to pay for the program if they do the one credit option (SIS 386: Selected Topics in Global Social Justice).
We offer over a dozen programs focused on social justice issues as diverse as immigration reform to race relations, queer homelessness, voting rights, post-conflict recovery, and more.
Alternative Breaks are year-long commitments. Orientation, reorientation, and a activism projects take place during the school year while direct engagement takes place over spring, summer, or winter breaks in a variety of locations from Vietnam, Brazil, DC, Baltimore, and more.