About CU Alternative Breaks

What is Alternative Breaks?

Students gathering during service

Alternative Breaks, a program of the Volunteer Resource Center, sends teams of college students (between 12-18 students) to engage in community-based service projects during each college break, providing opportunities for students to learn about the problems faced by members of communities with whom they may otherwise have had little or no direct contact. This immersion in diverse environments enables students to experience, discuss, and understand social issues in a significant way, ultimately, moving students towards action to make a positive impact.

Trip Logistics:

  • Students either fly or drive together from Boulder to their location.
  • All costs for each trip are inclusive of food, lodging, side trips, a t-shirt, education and program fees.
  • Students should not have to pay anything additional while they are on the trip.

CU Alternative Breaks program is a chapter member of Break Away. Break Away: the Alternative Break Connection, Inc. is a national nonprofit organization that supports the development of quality alternative break programs by providing training and information primarily to colleges, universities, and nonprofit organizations interested in creating lifelong active citizens through these intensive service-learning programs.

Who Participates in an Alternative Break Trip?

All full-time, undergraduate and graduate students are eligible to participate in any part of the Alternative Break experience.

Participants: Diversity is a core foundation of our program and already has a wide range of student participants from first year students to graduate students, students who have volunteered for the first time and students who dedicate lots of time to service, Colorado natives to international students and so much more. There’s a spot for you if you have an interest or passion for service and social justice.

Site Leaders: Being a site leader for Alternative Breaks is one of the premier leadership experiences on campus. It’s a unique opportunity to gain course credit for participation in the year-long leadership training OR you can be a leader as a volunteer. Either way, you’re going to gain crucial leadership skills and real-life experience on your Alternative Break trip to lead, manage, develop, support and teach a group of students.

Skills you’ll gain:

  • Managing groups (conflict resolution, teambuilding)
  • Building and managing budgets
  • Outreaching to community organizations and building new relationships
  • Event planning and management
  • Develop reflection and facilitation skills
  • Create and experience for other fellow CU Buffs that you all will remember for a lifetime

Interested in being a site leader? Apply here.
*No prior experience necessary.

Community Partners: We couldn't do the work we do without our community partners who are willing to provide us with service learning opportunities, education and sometimes even housing. Our community partners are located throughout the US and the world.  We’ve worked with many different community partners across the nation. Our community partners for spring 2016 were: 


What does the Upcoming AB timeline look like?





What are people saying about Alternative Breaks?

Students doing serviceAlternative Breaks was an awesome experience for me because it caused me to stop and look at my life, and start asking questions about myself.  The other students in my group had so much insight and knowledge, and definitely challenged me in a positive way.  Helping a community in need turned out to be really fun. Since my trip, I’ve become involved in planning future Alternative Break trips so that more students can have the awesome experience that I did.”  - Kirsten Hayda

Brittany, Jackie, Matt, Katie, Allison and Lacee were excellent ambassadors for your program as well as the University of Colorado at Boulder. They worked very hard during their visit and are outstanding individuals. Thank you for the opportunity to be a part of this incredible project!” – Phillip Hollon, Director of Residential Services [The students listed above worked in a dining facility that serves approximately 1800 meals a day to the homeless and hungry in southern Nevada.]

When I decided to join Alternative Spring Breaks, I was really looking forward to doing some community service.  As a freshman, completely new to the campus and to college life, I heard that the best way to adapt is to find your own niche.  I picked Alternative Breaks, because, with studying, meeting new people, and making up new food concoctions, I wasn’t doing anything to show my appreciation to anyone about the great new opportunities now at my finger tips.  In high school I was a community service junkie donating at least four hours a week.  As soon as college life had me pinned down for time, I didn’t keep my habit going, I missed it and realized what a huge part of me it was.  Not only was I given the chance to help others, but work with excellent people who wanted to be there, and to benefit a community that has been overshadowed, but in no less need of service.”   – Sabrina Sameshima

My experience with the Alternative Spring Breaks program was excellent. Not only did it increase my awareness of issues pertaining to low income housing, but it also brought me together with the most intellectual and caring group of people I have encountered in a long time. Together, we learned a lot about different areas in the US, community service, and most importantly, ourselves.” - Sarah Dobson