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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 for 2014-2015

2014-2015

THANKSGIVING &

JANUARY

SPRING-Flying

(International & Domestic)

SPRING-Driving

(International & Domestic)

MAY
Information Sessions Sept 23
7-8 PM
Taylor 302
Oct 22
7-9 PM
Festival Highlands Room
Oct 29
7-8:30 PM
Festival Ballroom

Jan 20
12:30-1:30 PM
Festival Allegheny Room


OR

Jan 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 Oct 1
8-10 PM
Festival Highlands Room
$100 Deposit Due
Oct 30
8-11 PM
Festival Ballroom
$200 Deposit Due
Nov 6
8-11 PM
Festival Ballroom
$100 Deposit Due
Feb 5
8-10 PM
Festival Highlands Room
$100 Deposit Due
Community Meeting Oct 15
8-10 PM
Festival Allegheny Room
Jan 28
8-10 PM
Festival Ballroom
Jan 28
8-10 PM
Festival Ballroom
Apr 20
8-10 PM
Festival Highlands Room
Trip Dates

Nov. 22-29, 2014

Jan. 3-10, 2015

Mar 7-14, 2015 Mar 7-14, 2015 May 10-16, 2015
Community Celebration

Thanksgiving: Dec 3
8-10 PM
Festival Allegheny Room

January: Jan 13
7-8:30 PM
Festival Allegheny Room

Mar 30
8-10 PM
Festival Ballroom
Mar 30
8-10 PM
Festival Ballroom
               ---

Payment Process & Policy

2014-2015

Thanksgiving

January

Spring-Flying

Spring-Driving

May

Weekend

Total Cost

$300*

$300*

$400-$1600

$300*

$300*

$25

1st Payment Due at sign up

$100

$100

$200

$100

$100

$25

2nd Payment Due

NA

NA

12/4/14

NA

NA

NA

Final Payment Due

10/22/14

12/4/14

1/30/15

1/21/15

4/1/15

NA

 

*Costs are estimated and will be finalized and posted with the trip description no later than 1 week before the first payment is due.

Payments: 

  • The first payment is due at the lottery and secures your spot on the trip.
  • Failure to meet the specified payment deadlines could result in loss of placement.
  • JMU reserves the right to cancel a trip due to lack of participation, unexpected events and/or for security and safety considerations.  In such circumstance, the university will endeavor to refund fees advanced by participants where those fees are uncommitted and recoverable.

Refund Requests: 

If an unavoidable circumstance occurs, you must IMMEDIATELY notify the Alternative Break staff to request consideration for a refund.  All requests must be submitted via email to abp@jmu.edu and include your name, trip, and documentation of the unavoidable circumstances. Refund requests will NOT be considered without documentation. Refunds will be considered on a case by case basis.  Unavoidable circumstances do not include decisions that you made to pursue other activities. There will be no refunds for any student dismissed from the program for reasons of misconduct or failure to comply with James Madison University (JMU) and/or Alternative Break Program (ABP) policies, procedures, and regulations.

 

Flying Trips:

The advertised cost is estimated based on flight quotes that may change by the time your flight is booked.  ABP works hard to keep costs to a minimum, but cannot guarantee that the flight cost, including taxes and fees will not change between sign-up and the date flights are booked.  Successful fundraising by your team can lower your payment significantly.  By signing up for this trip you are committing to paying the amount listed plus any changes in the cost of airfare.

*The 1st and 2nd payments generally cover all flight costs, so the total cost of the trip is not spread evenly over all 3 payments (the 2nd payment is usually the largest).  Fundraising will be deducted from the final payment only. 

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 first payment amount, 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.  Also, if you have class at this time, you will be able to send a proxy (the process will be emailed to you the day of the lottery).

Building a Community

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.  Flying Spring Break trips, both international and domestic, can vary due to the cost of airfare. Previous ranges have been $400-$1600. All flying trips will raise funds to help supplement 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!