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).

Apply to be an Alternative Break Site Leader!

Program Values

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.
Our teams should get to know each other, as well as the local community hosting us.
We strive to work alongside communities, finding nonprofit partners that are deeply connected with the community and working in partnership for social change.
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.
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 $40 deposit as cash or check (made to Board of Regents); deposit can be waived if applying for a travel grant (email [email protected] with specific questions).
  4. Turn in completed trip application, deposit, and travel grant application (if applicable) to Student Engagement & Diversity in SU 316.
  5. Wait to hear from the Alt Breaks program — applicants will be notified via an email from [email protected] 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.
  • All accepted participants are expected to attend all pre-trip meetings; the only excused absences will be for class.

*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),

Trip Descriptions

Date: Spring Break, April 9-15
Location: San Diego, CA
Topic: Immigration at the US-Mexico border
Cost: $125
Description: Spend the week serving and learning about immigration at the US-Mexico border. We will be doing service with Border Angels, a non-profit that does water drops near the border and brings snacks and water to day laborers, among other projects. We may also visit local parks to learn about the history of the area. While we will spend the majority of our time during the week doing service and learning, we will also explore the city recreationally. Please note: The service projects on this trip may include a border checkpoint and identification check.

Date: Spring Break, April 9-15
Location: Kanab, UT
Topic: Animal welfare
Cost: $125
Description: Work with the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary learning about animal welfare! We’ll be learning about the connection between people, animals, and the environment while doing a variety of service projects with the sanctuary. We’re excited to offer this trip for the first time!

Date: Spring Break, April 9-15
Location: San Francisco, CA
Topic: Housing & food insecurity
Cost: $175
Description: Visit San Francisco while doing service and learning about how housing and food insecurity affects different groups of people. We will be volunteering with Glide Memorial Church, Lava Mae, Project Homeless Connect, and other local agencies, and exploring the intersectionality across different identities. We will also have recreational time to see the city throughout the week, but most of our time will be spent learning and doing service.

Date: May 14-20
Location: Carson-Tahoe, NV
Topic: Native American history & culture
Cost: $120
Description: See another part of Nevada and learn about Native American history and culture! We will be working with the Stewart Indian School, and could be doing a number of volunteer projects, including landscaping and painting. We’ll be learning more about the history of the Stewart Indian School and the programs they run now. We’ll also be visiting Lake Tahoe.

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.

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 Trips: April 9-15, 2017

  • Now - Applications open
  • March 10, 4 p.m. - Application & deposit due (Student Engagement & Diversity- SU 316)
    *submit travel grants at the same time
  • March 15 – Notification of acceptance to trips
  • March 17 – Acceptance deadline (reply to office accepting spot on trip - or lose spot)
  • March 20-21 – First waitlist notification days
  • March 23, 5 - 6:30p.m. – Pre-trip meeting #1
  • March 30, 5 - 6:30p.m. – Pre-trip meeting #2
  • April 3 – Refunds available for folks not on waitlist
  • April 6, 5 - 6:30p.m. – Pre-trip meeting #3
  • April 9 (early morning) -15 (late at night) – Travel dates!
  • April 26, 5 - 7p.m. – Java and Justice (celebration reunion event - mandatory unless in class)

May Trip: May 14-20, 2017

  • Now – Applications open
  • April 17 - 1-2pm - SU 316 Conference Room: May Trip Info Session
  • April 19, 4 p.m. – Application & deposit due (Student Engagement & Diversity- SU 316)
    *submit travel grants at the same time
  • April 21 – Notification of acceptance to trips
  • April 24 – Acceptance deadline (reply to office accepting spot on trip - or lose spot)
  • April 25-21 – Waitlist notification days
  • April 27 5 - 6:30p.m. – Pre-trip meeting #1
  • May 4, 5 - 6:30p.m. – Pre-trip meeting #2
  • May 14-20 – Travel!
  • May 24, 5 - 7p.m. – Reunion Event- mini Java and Justice (mandatory unless in class)