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Alternative Break

Explore Your Alternatives

Want to do something different on your academic break?  Join a UNLV Alternative Break Trip!

Alternative break trips are student-led, university-sponsored trips for a week or a weekend. They’re a great way to experience a different community and explore social justice issues through service alongside communities.  While you travel for a week or a weekend, you can plan to do service, learn about social issues, live simply, and get to know your fellow travelers and host community. Administrative or academic faculty will be present on trips to support the learning experience and maintain administrative aspects. These trips are subsidized by the University to be affordable to students, but still have some financial commitment from participants (cost is dependent on the trip).

Apply to be a Site Leader

Want to get involved with alternative breaks, get transferable experience for your resume, and go on a trip for free? Excellent! Apply to be a site leader! 

Here's the responsibilities of a site leader:

  • Commit to 6 weeks of site leader training on Fridays from 3:30-5:30pm, Sept. 18-Oct. 23
  • Participate in Site Leader Retreat Nov. 13-15
  • Attend Site Leader Workshop and Planning Day Nov. 20
  • Do trip planning (3-5 hours per week) in Jan-Feb
  • Be flexible - you may not be placed to lead your first choice trip
  • Attend regular 1:1 meetings with the program coordinator to check in on planning and progress
  • Develop a reflection curriculum; facilitate reflections and group activities
  • Create an inclusive trip environment
  • Complete detailed and accurate planning documents
  • Do marketing for your trip
  • Plan and facilitate pre-trip meetings with your group
  • Plan and participate in the reorientation event (Java and Justice)
  • Maintain above a 2.5 cumulative GPA and stay in good standing with the university
  • Uphold the program values of Alternative Breaks

Apply now!

Applications are due by August 31.

Program Values

  • Simplicity
    Our trips are crafted to be affordable and different from the everyday. This means everything from sleeping on floors, cooking shared meals, sharing in chores and turning your cell phone off.
  • Community
    Our teams should get to know each other, as well as the local community hosting us.
  • Solidarity
    We strive to work alongside communities, finding nonprofit partners that are deeply connected with the community and working in partnership for social change.
  • Justice 
    It is important that we do service, but also learn about issues on a deeper level to understand why structural inequity exists and how we can work for social change. This process is often slow and challenging; we try to find hope along the way.
  • Continuation
    After our trips return, we take time to share our experiences with others, continue service and issue education, and plan steps we can take to advocate for social change. 

Our trips might be different than other trips you’ve been on, but that is exactly what we think makes them great. To create an effective and impactful learning and service experience, participants must commit to a drug- and alcohol-free experience. We make sure to include some recreation time as a group to experience the local culture, but that looks very different for every trip.

Trip Descriptions and Applications

Our trips are open to all students—whatever your major, background or experience (undergraduates take priority over graduate students, and graduates must unfortunately cover the entirety of trip costs).

Apply online-- remember, to have your application considered, you must make your deposit/payment. Deliver check (made to UNLV Board of Regents) or cash (preferred) at the Office of Civic Engagement Diversity (OCED) in the Student Union 316 where you will get a receipt.

*Please note that if you are awarded a space on a trip but decline it, your deposit will not be refunded since it means another student could not take that spot.

Trip participants will be notified of their selection for the trip within 48 hours after the registration deadline closes and will be expected to attend the pre-trip meeting mentioned on the website from 5-6 in OCED (only excused absences will be for class).


In advance of trips, we ask participants to attend pre-trip meetings where to help prepare travelers for trip logistics, start to get to know each other, and begin to explore some of the complex issues they may encounter while traveling on an alternative break trip.

Weekend trip participants must attend the 1 mandatory pre-trip meeting beforehand; weeklong travelers must commit to the 3 mandatory pre-trip meetings for their site.

Meetings are held on Tuesdays. The dates, times, and locations will vary slightly for each trip. That information is included on each trip’s application.


Participant fees in Alternative Break trips cover transportation, lodging, meals, and any program fees while traveling with the group. The University heavily subsidizes the costs per student, so timely deposits and student payments ensure successful and affordable trips.

For more information about specific trip costs, please see trip information since there are variations on cost based on trip distance, length, etc. Deposit/payments can be made in the Office of Civic Engagement and Diversity starting immediately on the 3rd floor of the Student Union in 316 at the front desk).