• A group of people looking at a mural
  • People doing gardening work
  • People walking in a valley
  • A group posing with shovels
  • Three women talking at a table

Alternative Breaks

Do something different!

About Alternative Break Trips

Alternative break trips are a great opportunity to experience a different community and explore social justice topics through service within those communities. While you travel, you and your group will complete service, learn, live simply, and get to know your fellow travelers and host community. Alternative break trips are led by a small team of student site leaders and staff learning partners to help students engage meaningfully over their academic breaks.

This is a great program for those who want to engage more with social justice, pave the path towards inclusivity and active citizenship, and eventually create more positive change in the world. 

The Alternative Breaks Breakdown Info Session

Upcoming Events

"I enjoyed hearing everyone's individuality and how that intersects in people's lives. Loved growing and sharing a beautiful trip with beautiful people."

Trip participant, 2018

How to Join

Student Staff Application Details

Want to be part of a national movement, gain transferable skills, have your Alt Break cost covered, and make awesome friends and connections at UNLV? Then consider applying to be an Alternative Break Site Leader!

To learn more about the role and responsibilities of the position please go over our '20-21 New Site Leader Info Packet.

In a typical school year site leader applications open in March, interviews are conducted in April, and selection is notified in May. Depending on the application pool we may reopen applications in the summer to get more students involved in the program! 

Positions are generally filled by the end of September, but feel free to check us out on social media (@UNLVSLL) or visit our website to see if we’re still hiring!

Got any more questions? Email altbreaks@unlv.edu

Trip Participant Application Details

Participant Commitments 

When you apply for an Alternative Break or Zoom-In and make your deposit, you commit to attend all pre-trip meetings, participate fully in your trip, engage meaningfully with your peers, display an openness to learning, expand your comfort zone and attend the post-trip reunion event (R&R). The only exception to the aforementioned would be a conflicting class during any of our events. 

How to Apply

To apply please visit our website to apply once we release the trip topics and locations.

The application itself is relatively simple. We suggest that students hold about 20 minutes to complete it.

In the application, you will be asked questions regarding your interest in the trip, what you hope to gain from the Alt. Break experience, and what you can contribute to the group based on your own past experiences and knowledge. You’ll also let us know if you’re interested in more than one trip (so that we can easily place you into one of your other choices in case a trip fills up)  and share some data with us about your basic personal information. 

Please note that in order to complete your application you must also submit your deposit ($50 for Alternative Break trips and $25 for Zoom-Ins).

Visit our events page for important dates and deadlines.

Cost Details

Trip costs can vary from $50-100 for weekend trips, $100-250 for week-long trips, $300-500 for flight-based trips, and a $25 deposit for Zoom-Ins.

Trip fees cover lodging, meals, volunteer fees, group activities for the week, and group transportation excluding airfare for flight-based trips. For flight-based trips, participants are responsible for paying the cost of their flights to and from their respective destinations in addition to their trip cost.

Payments are submitted online within the trip application via KX. 

Travel subsidies are also available for students who demonstrate need; applications for travel subsidies can be found within the trip application. 

Core Values

At Alternative Breaks we build our trips around five core values that help to make our trips a unique experience for all students:

Simplicity - “Freedom from complexity, absence of luxury or pretentiousness.”

To plan affordable trips that align with our social justice emphasis, we strive to promote simple accommodations, shared meals, and collective processes rather than your typical vacation getaway.

Community - “A feeling of fellowship with others.”

Local communities and nonprofits are important partners in our trips. We take time to learn, coming in as guests and we take time to bond with our group during both service and recreation time.

Solidarity - “Unity or agreement of feeling or action, mutual support within a group.”

We strive to serve with, not “to” or “for” others. Our nonprofit partners are curated as doing good, long-standing and reciprocal work within their communities in the hopes of promoting positive social change.

Justice - “Seeking equity in the distribution of opportunities and privileges within a society.”

We seek to be intentional about the potential impacts of our service, to understand structural inequity, and to explore how we can work for social change. This process can be slow and challenging; but also rich and empowering.

Continuation - “The process of carrying something on over a period of time, the state of remaining in motion.”

Our goal is for participants to integrate this experience into life after the trip to continue serving, learning, and working for social change. Our R&R (Re-Orientation and Reflection) event offers participants the chance to celebrate, reflect, and re-engage with their trip!

Trip Topics

Stay tuned to see what trips and trip topics we’ll be unveiling for the upcoming academic breaks! Trip topics and destinations are typically revealed early in the fall semester.   

For an idea of what trips may be soon to come… 

Zoom-In topics have included: 

  • Food & Housing Insecurity 
  • Immigration at the US-Mexico Border
  • Mass Incarceration and Community Development

Fall weekend trips have included: 

  • Fire Ecology in Santa Monica Mountains, CA 
  • Food Systems & Sustainability in Oxnard, CA
  • Animal Rights & Welfare in Kanab, UT 

Spring Break trips have included: 

  • LGBTQIA+ Perspectives & Experiences in San Francisco, CA
  • Immigration at the US-Mexico Border in San Diego, CA
  • Ecology & Public Lands in Grand Canyon, AZ
  • Native American History & Perspectives in Carson City, NV

May trips have included: 

  • Balancing Restoration & Recreation in Catalina Island, CA
  • Mass Incarceration & Community Development in Los Angeles, CA

We’re also working to re-incorporate flight-based Spring Break trips with:

  • Immigration & Refugees Experiences & Perspectives in Chicago, IL 
  • Food & Housing Insecurity in Seattle, WA


Curious about what to expect on your Alternative Break? See our sample schedules below!

Why Join?

Everyone joins for their own reasons. Some people want to connect with other students, build their resume, learn about a new topic, serve in a meaningful way, or translate their classroom learning into a new environment. Whatever your reasons are, we hope you’ll consider deepening your social justice learning, working for positive social change, laughing with others, and finding your connection. Discover your reasons for joining! If you want more information, join one of our info sessions or contact us to see if this experience fits you.


Join our newsletter to get information and reminders about upcoming Alt Break, Service, and Leadership opportunities!

After you enter your information, you will receive a confirmation email to finish the subscription process. Be sure to click confirm! Emails go out every Friday.

"I enjoyed that they made us think about what we did that day. Reflections also served as an opportunity to help us decompress and really understand what we witnessed that day."

Additional Information

Feel free to email us at altbreaks@unlv.edu with any questions or concerns. You can also follow us on Instagram or Facebook at @UNLVSLL to get daily updates, engage with the SLL office at different events, and learn what to expect next from Alternative Breaks!