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Alternative Break Trips

Explore an Alternative Break Trip

Want to do something different on your academic break?  Join a UNLV Alternative Break Trip! Often called “alt breaks,” these are student-led, university-sponsored trips that typically last a week. They’re a great way to experience a different community and explore social justice issues through service alongside communities.  While you travel, your group will do service, learn, live simply, and get to know your fellow travelers and host community. Administrative or academic faculty members attend to support learning 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 dependent on the trip).

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.

To create an effective and learning and service experience, participants commit to a drug- and alcohol-free experience. We include some (limited) recreation time as a group to experience the local destination, but that looks very different for every trip.

Applying for a Trip

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

How to Apply

  1. Download the trip application. Complete it and print it out.
  2. To apply for a travel grant (reduced trip fee), download the application here. Fill it out, print it, and attach to your trip application.
  3. Have $50 deposit as cash or check (made to Board of Regents); deposit can be waived if applying for a travel grant (email serve@unlv.edu with specific questions).
  4. Turn in completed trip application, deposit, and travel grant application (if applicable) to Student Engagement & Diversity in SU 316. Application deadlines:
    • Spring break — February 17, 2016
    • May Trip — April 20, 2016
  5. Wait to hear from the Alt Breaks program — applicants will be notified via an email from serve@unlv.edu outlining whether they have (or have not) been offered a spot on a trip or the waitlist.

Important Things to Know as You Apply

  • Participants are selected based on their application; it is not a first come, first served basis, so please consider that as you prepare your responses.
  • Trip participants will be notified of their selection for the trip within 48 hours after the registration deadline closes:
    • Spring Break 2016 trip deadline — February 17
    • May 2016 trip deadline — April 20
  • All accepted participants are expected to attend all pre-trip meetings; the only excused absences will be for class.
    • Spring Break 2016 trip meetings — March 2, 9 and 16 from 5-6:30 p.m. in the SU, rooms TBA
    • May 2016 trip meetings — 5-6:30 p.m. on May 4 (SU 316, Conference Room) and 11 (SU 316, CSUN Conference Room)

*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.  If the program declines you (and you choose to not join the waitlist),

  • If you are not accepted onto the trip, you will be offered a spot on the waitlist. If someone drops their spot on the trip, we will offer spots on the trip to all members of the waitlist and the positions will be filled on a first come, first served basis up to 48 hours before the trip.
  • For a full list of policies, please email serve@unlv.edu and we will be happy to provide the policy for your reference!

Trip Descriptions

Location: Catalina Island, CA

Topic: Ecology

Date: May 15-21, 2016 (the week after finals)

Cost: $125

Description: Explore this beautiful island while learning about ecology! We’ll be doing service with the Catalina Island Conservancy, and we could be participating in a number of service projects, including: landscaping, weeding, painting and restoration, invasive plant removal, and trash pickup on the beach. Most of our time will be spent learning and doing service, but we will also take some time to hike and explore the town, Avalon. We will stay at a volunteer campsite that has bathrooms, outdoor showers, and a partial kitchen.

Deposits are nonrefundable once an applicant is offered and accepts a spot on a trip.  If a student is declined a spot on a trip, their deposit is refundable (but we will be unable to offer refunds until the week after the trip).  Applicants will be notified via email when refunds are available.

We do not want cost to be a barrier for someone to go on a trip, so we offer travel grants. Travel grant applicants can request for their trip deposit to be waived on their travel grant application. We are unable to offer any trips at no cost; the minimum trip cost for a travel grant recipient is $40. Download this application with the main application

Travel grant recipients are expected to briefly share their experiences with others at the post-trip reorientation event, Java and Justice. Presentations can be very casual (can be oral or visual) and recipients are free to choose how and what they share during the presentation. 

Wait List

Wait List Placement

Alternative Break applicants can be placed on the wait list by answering “yes” to the wait list question on the trip application. They will be placed on a wait list for all trips. Here is important information about the waitlist:

  • If a spot opens on any trip, all applicants on the wait list will be notified by email. The applicants that respond first, to be determined by the time stamp on their email reply, will be selected to attend the trip. Applicants on the wait list may be notified up to 2 days before the trip departure date.

  • Participants selected from the waitlist must pay the remaining trip cost by the regular payment deadline (by the second pre-trip meeting). If the participant is selected for the trip after the deadline has passed, they must make the payment as soon as possible. Other arrangements may be made with Alternative Break program staff if necessary.
  • Once selected from the waitlist, participants must attend all regularly scheduled pre-trip meetings or all remaining scheduled pre-trip meetings. (If the participant is selected for the trip after the pre-trip meetings have passed, it is their responsibility to contact Alternative Break program staff to set up an alternate meeting.)
    • If an applicant indicates on their application they would like to be placed on the wait list, their initial deposit will not be refunded until after the trip, and only if they do not attend the trip. If they are selected to go on the trip, their deposit will go to their trip balance, and they will be responsible for paying the remaining trip cost on the regular payment deadline. If the participant is added to the trip roster after the payment deadline has passed, they are expected to complete the payment as soon as possible.

Dates to Know

Spring Break Trip Info Sessions

  • Feb.1, 12-1 p.m. in SU 316 Conference Room
  • Feb. 10, 4-5 p.m. in SU 316 Conference Room

Spring Break Trip Registration Deadline: Feb. 17

  • Must submit the following to SU 316 (Student Engagement & Diversity):
    • completed trip application, completed travel grant application (optional), and $50 trip deposit

Spring Break Pre-Trip Meetings

  • March 2, 5-6:30 p.m., Student Union (specific rooms TBA)
  • March 9, 5-6:30 p.m., Student Union (specific rooms TBA)
  • March 16, 5-6:30 p.m., Student Union (specific rooms TBA)
  • Java and Justice (Spring Break Trip Reorientation): April 12, 4-6 p.m., SU 208C

May Trip Info Sessions

  • April 4, 1-2 p.m., SU 316 Conference Room
  • April 13, 4-5 p.m., SU 316 Conference Room

May Trip Registration Deadline: April 20

Must have completed trip application, completed travel grant application, and $50 trip deposit turned in to SU 316.

May Trip Pre-Trip Meetings

  • May 4, 2016
  • May 11, 2016

May Trip Reorientation: May 25, 4:30-6:30 p.m.

Want to Get More Involved?

Want to get involved with alternative breaks, get transferable experience for your resume, and earn your trip cost as part of the prep work you will do? Apply to be a site leader! Site leaders make a significant commitment to the Alternative Break Trip program and agree to:

  • Commit to 6 weeks of site leader training (often Fridays from 3:30-5:30 p.m., Sept-Oct)
  • Participate in Site Leader Retreat (1 weekend in Nov.)
  • Attend Site Leader Workshop and Planning Days (Nov)
  • Do trip planning (3-5 hours per week in Jan.-Mar.)
  • 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

*Applications will be available over summer, and due early September. For more information, email serve@unlv.edu.