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The Philosophy & Design

Alternative Breaks serves with an eight component philosophy. Each trip will have:

  • Strong Direct Service
  • Alcohol and Drug Free Environment
  • Diversity
  • Orientation
  • Education
  • Training
  • Reflection
  • Reorientation

Most of our trips consist of the following:

  • 2 student trip leaders
  • 1 faculty/staff learning partner
  • 9 student trip participants

All participants on the trip are expected to do the following:

  • Actively participate in all group experiences before and after the trip. This will include educational sessions before and after the trip and reflection sessions during the trip. The trips take place, typically, from the Saturday before to the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Spring or May Break. Some trips may leave Friday evening to accommodate travel needs as approved by the Assistant Director.
  • Actively participate in the group experience while on the alternative break trip. This includes group living, working, community building activities, and reflection.
  • Uphold the alcohol and drug free environment of all alternative break activities.

Where We Go

Our trips go all over the United States working in various communities with numerous social and environmental issues. We also offer a small number of international trips to Central America and the Caribbean. Check out our upcoming trips to find out where we will be headed this year.

Timeline and Event Information

2014-2015THANKSGIVING & WINTERSPRING
International and
Domestic Flying
SPRING
Domestic Driving
MAY
Information Sessions September 23
7-8 PM
Taylor 302
October 22
7-9 PM
Festival Highlands Room
October 29
7-8:30 PM
Festival Ballroom
January 20
12:30-1:30 PM
Festival Allegheny Room
OR
January 21
5-6 PM
Taylor 302
Lottery Signup Online signup
opens 9am, Sept 23
and
closes midnight
Sept 29
Online signup
opens 9am, Oct 22
and
closes midnight
Oct 27
Online signup
opens 9am, Oct 28
and
closes midnight
Nov 4
Online signup
opens 9am, Jan 20
and
closes midnight
Jan 26
Lottery Drawing and Trip Selection October 1
8-10 PM
Festival Highlands Room
$100 Deposit Due
October 30
8-11 PM
Festival Ballroom
$200 Deposit Due
November 6
8-11 PM
Festival Ballroom
$100 Deposit Due
February 5
8-10 PM
Festival Highlands Room
$100 Deposit Due
Community Meeting October 15
8-10 PM
Festival Allegheny Room
January 28
8-10 PM
Festival Ballroom
January 28
8-10 PM
Festival Ballroom
April 20
8-10 PM
Festival Highlands Room
Cost $250-$300 Varies by trip $250-$300 $300
Trip Dates Nov. 22-29, 2014 March 7-14, 2015 March 7-14, 2015 May 10-16, 2015
Community Celebration

Thanksgiving: December 3
8-10 PM
Festival Allegheny Room
Winter: January 13
7-8:30 PM
Festival Allegheny Room

March 30
8-10 PM
Festival Ballroom
March 30
8-10 PM
Festival Ballroom
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Refund Policy Click here Click here Click here Click here

Click here for more information about the Alternative May Break trip.
Click here for information on how to get involved in an Alternative Weekend Break trip.

Lottery Nights

On the night of the lotteries we share a little more detailed information about the trips and program . When you hear your name called you may select any of the trips that still have available spaces. Please bring the appropriate deposit, your JAC, and all associated completed paperwork (which will be emailed to you the day of the lottery). We know many of you have papers and studying that you would really love to be doing during this time. There is an expectation that you will listen for your name to be called; however, you are welcome to study and work on homework while you are waiting. The room is wireless enabled, so you are welcome to bring your laptop.

Community Meetings

The Community Meetings give you a chance to see all the Alternative Break teams at the same time. We want to recognize the role you play in the Alternative Break Movement.

Community Celebrations

Upon your return, all the teams get together one more time en masse. During this celebration, you'll have the opportunity to share a little bit about what happened on your trip and potentially find ways to create similar connections within the local Harrisonburg community.

Cost & Travel Information

How much?

Current estimates for domestic driving trips are $250-300 for the week which includes all of your food, housing and transportation. Cost may go down as final budgets are approved for each trip.

Domestic flying trips/international trips can vary due to the cost of airfare. Previous ranges have been $450-$1500. All flying trips will raise funds to help cut the costs of the trip. The total cost will include your food, housing, and transportation.

Payment Methods: Credit or Debit Card preferred (individual arrangements can be made for check or money order)

Need-based trip cost reductions are also available. Download the trip cost reduction application.

How will we travel?

Driving trips are provided with state vehicles to be used for transportation to, around and from the site. Flying trips make arrangements to carpool to and from the airport. Ground transportation is arranged for upon arrival at the destination.

Getting Started

Check out our upcoming trips to find one (or more) that excites you. Then join us for an information meeting, stop by our office (2nd floor of Student Success Center), or simply visit our website again during the online signup dates to enter your name in the lottery!