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What Are My Break Options?

We offer Alternative Breaks for a week in January, March, May, and July. We also offer a 3-4 day experience in October. They are open to all JMU students (and even student organizations). Check out the details below for how and when to register for each time of year breaks are offered.

Find out how to sign up to participate.

For details about each specific break’s community, service focus, and potential projects, check out the break descriptions.

Alternative Spring Breaks (ASB) are opportunities for groups of 10-12 college students to serve across the US and Central and South Americas for a week instead of doing a "typical college" spring break. Alternative Breaks challenge students to critically think and react to concerns identified by local community partners with which they are serving. Each break has a focus on a particular social issue such as (but not limited to) poverty, education reform, refugee resettlement, prison reintegration, youth, animal welfare, homelessness, and the environment. Students learn about the social issues and contribute to week-long projects with local non-profit community partners. Being immersed in diverse environments enables participants to experience, discuss, and understand social issues in a significant way. Breaks are also drug and alcohol-free experiences, with a heavy emphasis on group and individual reflection. You meet with your team prior to the break to prepare and get all the details. You meet with your team after the break to reorient from the experience.

**Would you like your student organization to have an experience just for them? Proposals are typically due early April for the following academic year. Email apb@jmu.edu for details.

Fall Break (AFB) is a little unique. It mirrors the ASB service concept, but we commit to working closer to campus (within about a 4-hour radius), take a larger team to serve (30-50 that break into smaller groups of 10 for the week-long projects), and is offered for 3-4 days. This break is a little closer and shorter because the academic break is 2 days in October versus a full week. 

Winter Break (AJB) mirrors AFB, but is offered in January-the week prior to spring semester classes beginning. The length is generally a full week, but may vary depending on holidays and the start of spring semester.

May Break (AMB) mirrors AJB, but still has its own unique twist-we commit to working in the Gulf Coast community. It is the week following spring semester classes. We serve most often in New Orleans, Louisiana. The focus is more specific as we rebuild houses and communities post-Hurricane Katrina, but the break incorporates whatever service is needed most.

New Dukes Break (ANB) is special in its own right. It mirrors AJB, but this break is only open to incoming first-year and new transfer students and is offered in late July. We excitedly connect you with other NEW students through service before beginning classes on campus in the fall! This break kicks-off with a day-long retreat on-campus where you meet your student leaders, get to know the rest of the team, and learn about the social issues associated with your break. Check out a recent video to get a feel!

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