Office of Student Engagement

University Life & Services | Leading the Experience

University Life & Services


Alternative Break Programs

Photo: Alternative Break volunteers

Alternative break programs engage students in experiential learning through community service and volunteerism during their fall (Thanksgiving), winter or spring break. The projects the students participate with address issues such as poverty, homelessness, hunger, literacy, HIV/AIDS, education and the environment. The objective of the Alternative Breaks program is to involve students in service projects to learn about a community they would typically not know about. The goal is for students to take the intensity of the program/experience and transfer the lessons learned to their own community upon their return. We hope students learn how they can become agents of change, make a difference in their community and lead a life of active citizenship.

Each Alternative Break trip will have between 8 and 15 participants, 2 student Team Leaders and 2 Staff Advisers. The cost for the trips range widely depending on the trip and the transportation costs. Students will travel as a group to their specified destination with the Staff Advisers.

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2015-2016 Alternative Break Trips

Alternative Fall Break - Working with the Cleveland Leadership Center in Cleveland, OH (Nov 25-29)

The Cleveland Leadership Center is the premier center in the Cleveland community for building and engaging civic leadership capital. They offer a variety of civic leadership programs and engagement opportunities designed to foster civic responsibility; create a culture of leadership that is inclusive, collaborative, and progressive; and make a dynamic impact on the community. Participants on this trip will be working with a variety of community organizations. (Estimated Trip Cost for Students - $350)

Alternative Winter Break - Environmental Sustainability in the Louisiana Wetlands (Jan 17-23)

Participants of this trip will travel to the Louisiana wetlands to discover the beauty of the bayou and the rich and vibrant culture of those that call it home. The group will learn about the cultural and ecological history of southern Louisiana and complete community service projects that will increase the long-term sustainability of this important region. (Estimated Trip Cost for Students - $900)

Alternative Winter Break - Community Development in Monteverde, Costa Rica (Jan 11-23)

Participants of this extended AB experience will be hosted by the Monteverde Institute. The Monteverde Institute (MVI) is a member-governed Costa Rican not-for-profit association dedicated to education, applied research, and community engagement. Founded in 1986, MVI from its inception has facilitated place-based, experiential learning in education abroad, grounded in the environmental, social, economic and cultural realities of the Monteverde Zone communities. (Estimated Trip Cost for Students - $2800)

Alternative Spring Break - Give Where You Live in Buffalo, NY (March 13-18)

While staying in Buffalo, students participating in this trip will explore a variety of social issues affecting the Buffalo area. Students will volunteer with various community organizations and get a broader sense of the city. It is our hope that students will be left with an appreciation of our city and a passion to continue to volunteer and make change in our own backyard. (Estimated Trip Cost for Students - $200)

Alternative Spring Break - Habitat for Humanity in Charlottesville, VA (March 14-19)

Volunteers on this trip will work with the international non-profit Habitat for Humanity to provide affordable housing for families in need. Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville was founded in 1991 and works to create simple, decent, affordable housing in partnership with low-income families, volunteers and the communities of greater Charlottesville. Over the past two decades, this affiliate has built homes in partnership with more than 100 local low-income families. (Estimated Trip Cost for Students - $300)

Alternative Spring Break - Advocacy and Activism in Selma, AL (March 13-19)

Participants on this trip will work with the Freedom Foundation and be engaged in service and educational activities that foster a greater understanding of the Civil Rights movement and provide outlets for how to be an engaged community member today. The Freedom Foundation hosts a one-of-a-kind Alternative Break experience that has often been called "life-changing". The trip is anything but your typical 40-hour, 9-5, build-a-house and go home experience. It's a journey—an emotional, historical, educational, eye-opening, personal journey that is designed to challenge participants for a week and to inspire them for a lifetime. (Estimated Trip Cost - $900)

Alternative Spring Break - Educational Programs in the Dominican Republic (March 12-19)

Working with Outreach360, students will help teach English to the kids in Santiago, DR. Students will live out Outreach 360's vision (to transform the world in which every child is able to pursue a college degree or to be gainfully employed upon reaching adulthood, enabling them to live a life of choice) while learning about the history of the Dominican Republic, exploring the culture and discuss what it really means to "make change" happen in a community. (Estimated Trip Cost for Students- $1600)

For information about the Alternative Break program, please email our office.

Office of Student Engagement| 235 Student Union | University at Buffalo | Buffalo, NY 14260 | Phone: (716) 645-6469 | Director: Phyllis Floro | E-Mail