About Alternative Break Site Leaders

Alternative Break Group         

**Site Leader Applications are now closed for Spring and Summer 2019. Please check back in March 2019 for open applications to lead trips in Spring/Summer 2020.**

Each trip is led by two student co-site leaders who have a role in planning trips, selecting participants, fundraising, facilitating pre-trip meetings, and leading their groups. If you are looking for an opportunity to take on greater responsibility and lead your peers in service, then the site leader position is perfect for you! Site Leaders participate in a nine-month long leadership development program and are responsible for planning and facilitating learning before, during and after trips. Site leaders can expect to contribute 3 - 6 hours a week, in addition to a 2-hour/week site leader training and meeting, throughout the academic year.

Site Leader Position Summary

Alternative Breaks operates on the premise that service-learning is a valuable response to social issues we face in today’s society and that knowledge about social and environmental issues enables students to become active citizens, adults who are engaged in their communities.

This intensive leadership training prepares students, who are committed to leading a successful Alternative Break trip, by teaching practical skills in leadership, group management, risk management, group development, culturally sensitive service, reflection, education, orientation and training. Site Leaders will be responsible for planning all aspects of a trip for 10 people (food, housing, lodging, transportation and other logistics). Students will be prepared to both learn about and facilitate the learning of others around the intersectionality and complexity of varied social and environmental issues. Through training and successful leadership of an Alternative Break trip, students will learn to value and implement ideas of reciprocity, active citizenship, community building, and culturally competent leadership.

Required Attendance:

** YOU MUST BE AVAILABLE WEDNESDAYS FROM 3-5PM. NO EXCEPTIONS. The 1st class will begin on October 10th and will run through the spring semester in April, 2019. **

  • Weekly Site Leader Training (2 hours/ week. Wednesdays from 3-5 pm. You must not have an overlapping class or work schedule. Class will start on October 10th and will run through April 2018).
  • Alternative Breaks Kick-Off Event is designed to reveal to participants their trip locations. You are an important part of this event and is the first time you will meet your participants.
  • Pre-Service and Post-Service with trip participants (You will plan this service for your group and is a required component)
  • Re-Orientation is an event where we come together as an Alternative Break program to reflect on our service and implement next steps for service. (April 2018 - usually one - two weeks after you return from your trip).
  • Your assigned Alternative Break trip
  • Spend 3-4 hours per week planning your Alternative Break trip

Ready to Apply?

In order to complete this application, you will need to have a finalized cover letter and resume in PDF format, ready to be uploaded. Additionally, you will need to provide the contact information for 2 references.

Please write a one-page cover letter, addressing:

1. why you would like to be an Alternative Break site leader and what you would bring to the position

2. what your greatest strengths are as a leader

3. how you think this position would challenge you if you were selected.

If you have never written a cover letter before or need assistance, please make an appointment and visit CU Boulder Career Services office in C4C.

Please read the following information about the program before you begin your application and consider all of the time-intensive requirements this leadership position asks of you. If you have questions, please email our office at altbreak@colorado.edu or stop by UMC 458. We are happy to answer any questions you might have about the program.


Site Leaders are student leaders at the core of the CU Alternative Breaks program. Site Leaders work together in pairs to facilitate participants through the group process, create safe spaces for learning and reflection, encourage and foster full participation, and implement the philosophies of the Volunteer Resource Center and Alternative Breaks program.

The qualifications to be a Site Leader are as follows:
  • Be able to attend the Alternative Break trip you are selected for (This means, if you are leading a spring break trip, our number one expectation is that you fulfill your commitment to lead the trip. Leaving a trip early will result in lost privileges -from attending, leading or participating in future VRC programs).
  • A cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher.
  • A second year student or higher.
  • Must email your resume and cover letter to altbreak@colorado.edu in PDF form.
  • Current good standing status as an enrolled undergraduate or graduate student at CU Boulder
  • Knowledge, passion and commitment for social issues and social change
  • Demonstrated leadership on the CU Boulder campus or in local community
  • Self-motivated and organized, including the ability to meet deadlines
  • Ability to lead and hold accountable, a group of peers by creating an energized, comfortable, safe, and inclusive environment
  • Preferred Qualification: Have been on an Alternative Break trip before.


Site Leaders have many responsibilities beyond their peers as trip participants. The Site Leader role is a seven-month commitment from October 2018 through April 2019. Site Leaders can expect to spend 3-4 hours per week planning and organizing trip logistics. CU Alternative Breaks Site Leaders are responsible for the following expectations:

Volunteer Resource Center Advisors reserve the right to remove a Site Leader from their volunteer role at any time for failure to meet any of the requirements or expectations.

  • Communicate with community partners in a respectful way that builds a mutually beneficial relationship for CU Boulder volunteers and the community in which we are working
  • Follow up with and communicate with your community partner(s)/ service sites and the Volunteer Resource center in a timely manner
  • Accurately and in a timely fashion, communicate expectations to your participants
  • Appropriately follow up and thank community partners for the work they did to host our group
  • Engage in conflict resolution strategies if and when conflict arises with your Co-Site Leader pair and commit t0 addressing and resolving conflict before and during the trip
  • Communicate any and all emergencies, including physical, psychological, group conflict, alcohol and drug violations, discrimination, harassment, and any other policy violations with the on-call Volunteer Resource Center staff.
  • Life gets busy, and circumstances can change. If you are too busy or overwhelmed at any point during the year, it is an expectation that you communicate with the Volunteer Resource Center staff as soon as possible so that we can  assess options for supporting your trip and Co-Site Leader
Participant Development
  • Co-Site Leaders will fulfill the agreed upon schedule that was planned for your service and educational opportunities throughout the service experience  (this can also include setting a cell phone use policy for your group, no tobacco use,  wake up, and quite hours time during the trip, rules for communication and respectful dialogue, agreements on conflict resolution, showing up as an engaged participant with community organizations and encouraging participants to do the same).
  • Participate in Trip Leadership meetings with Co-Site Leader, and CU Alternative Breaks Coordinator
  • Participate in recruitment and selection of trip participants
  • Engage, plan, and facilitate 4 trip group meetings for CU Alternative Break participants (in the Spring)
  • Participate in pre-trip community service, related to specific trip issue
  • Participate and plan a post-trip service project for you and your participants
Participation and Training Commitments
  • Spend 3-4 hours per week planning your Alternative Break trip
  • Attend the Alternative Break trip you are assigned to lead. Leaving a trip early may result in lost privileges to participate in future VRC programs
  • Take the required training for obtaining a university Travel Card, track and maintain details trip related purchases,
  • approve and reconcile all final expenses (Maintain expenses within the budget parameters that are set by your and the
  • VRC Advisor assigned to your trip).
  • Be able to take training and become a driver for your trip. (2, 4-hour trainings are required if you have a valid license)
  • Commit to learning about and becoming an expert on your trip topic, the community/s in which you will be engaging in service learning and teach this to your participants
  • Attend a mandatory Site Leader retreat (typically in September over a weekend)
  • Participate in as-needed Site Leader trip development meetings, with the VRC Advisor assigned to your trip (twice a semester) from September - May
  • Engage in group fundraising efforts to offset your own cost as a Site Leader
Risk Management
  • Read and agree to the Risk Management Policy manual (Ensure and enforced all health and safety guidelines).
  • Site Leaders will also be held to the Alternative Breaks Code of Conduct, Financial Agreement and detailed Site Leader duties
  • Commit to alcohol and drug free policy of CU Alternative Breaks
Alternative Break Values
  • Commit to the mission of CU Alternative Break program and the Volunteer Resource Center and uphold our mission,
  • values, goals
  • A commitment to engage in and learn about sustainable practices. (Examples could include: bringing reusable cups and plates for the duration of the trip, taking shorter showers during your experience, comparing prices and packaging to reduce both waste and cost).
  • Commit to ensuring that adequate direct service and educational experiences are planned for your Alternative Break  participants, which align with both the Triangle of Quality Service, Active Citizen Continuum, and 8 Components of a Quality Alternative Break
  • Commit to being a champion of full engagement for your group
Learning Outcomes and Demonstrated Skills
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the VRC service philosophy
  • Be able to describe how social group identities influence the exchanges and relationships with communities that are similar or different from your own identity groups
  • Be able to define key concepts of social justice and identify ways in which they apply to your service learning trip
  • Reflection is a central and important part of the Triangle of Quality Service and a components of a quality Alternative  -Break experience (Site Leaders are required to lead and facilitate intentional, structured and planned reflection activities for groups at the end of each day).


Free! Because of the amount of time site leaders spend training to lead the trips, there is no fee, however, site leaders are asked to help with fundraising.

Trip Information:

The Alternative Break program staff will select and ensure quality service breaks. The program staff will choose trip topics over the summer, based on student feedback from previous years. As a leader, you will get to preference your top 5 trips. You will be placed with a co-leader and you will be assigned to lead one of your Top 5 trips. We ask that you keep an open mind to participating on any of the top 5 trips you picked. Trips will be planned from October - November. We will begin recruiting participants in December.