• 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

Travel | Learn | Serve

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

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 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 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, and expand your comfort zone. (The only exception to the aforementioned would be a conflicting class during any of our events.)

How to Apply

The application itself is relatively simple, but we do suggest that students hold about 20 minutes to complete it. In the application, you'll be asked questions regarding your trip interest, what you hope to gain from the experience, and your anticipated group contributions based on your experiences and knowledge. You’ll also let us know if you’re interested in more than one trip (so that we can place you into one of your other choices in case a trip fills) and share some basic personal information.

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

Spring Break

Complete the Spring Break Trip Application by 9 am on Tuesday, February 21.

Apply

Trips run March 12-18, 2023, and available topics  include:

  • Immigration at the US/Mexico Border in San Diego, CA
  • Food Sovereignty in Portland, OR
  • Disability Justice in San Francisco, CA [POSTPONED - Please check back next year]
  • Mass Incarceration & Community Development in Los Angeles, CA

Post-Finals

Complete the May Trip Application by 9 am on Monday, April 17.

Apply

Trips run May 14-20, 2023, and available topics include:

  • Ecology on Catalina Island, CA
  • Advancing Sexual & Reproductive Health in San Francisco, CA
  • Refugees & Resettlement in Chicago, IL [POSTPONED - Please check back next year]

Cost Details

Trip costs can vary from $50-100 for weekend trips, $100-250 for week-long trips, $300-500 for flight-based trips. The fee for our trips during spring 2023 will be $150 each (excluding flight costs for flight-based trips).

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 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

For the 2022-2023 academic year, we are currently planning week-long trips for Spring Break (March 12-18, 2023) and Post-Finals (May 14-20, 2023). While not feasible this year, it is our hope to bring back fall and weekend trips in future years.

The below list of trips and descriptions constitute our current intended trips for spring semester 2023. Please note that all trips are subject to change and we will do our best to provide up to date information when possible.

Spring Break

Topic: Immigration at the U.S./Mexico Border
Location: San Diego, CA
Cost: $150
Spend the week serving and learning about immigration at the US-Mexico border. Community engagement activities may include service projects such as desert water drops, speaking with day laborers, and visiting Chicano Park. Please note: The service projects on this trip may include a border checkpoint and identification check.

Topic: Food Sovereignty
Location: Portland. OR
Cost: $150 + Cost of flights
Learn about food sovereignty - a set of food production and distribution practices that gives power back to local communities. Work with farmers and advocacy groups to better understand the health and economic justice that arises from these practices. Service activities may involve manual labor such as weeding or planting.

Topic: Disability Justice [POSTPONED - Please check back next year]
Location: San Francisco, CA
Cost: $150 + Cost of flights
On this trip students will learn about the current state disability rights in the U.S and its connection to social policies and lived experiences. Participants will learn from community-based nonprofit organizations about strategies to help advance progress within this intersectional topic.

Topic: Mass Incarceration & Community Development
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Cost: $150
Learn about the root causes of mass incarceration in the U.S. and its connection to social policies and identities; explore community-based nonprofit organizations to learn strategies to help defeat the prison pipeline system.

Post-Finals

Topic: Ecology
Location: Catalina Island, CA
Cost: $150
This ecology-themed trip partners with the Catalina Island Conservancy, and activities may include: landscaping, weeding, painting and restoration, invasive plant removal, and trash pickup on the beach. We will stay at a campsite that has bathrooms, outdoor showers, and a partial kitchen.

Topic: Advancing Sexual and Reproductive Health
Location: San Francisco, CA
Cost: $150
During the week, we will be serving with local non-profits and learning about sexual and reproductive health. We will recognize intersectionality by exploring these issues through a variety of lenses, including: socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, sexuality, and gender identity and expression.

Topic: Refugees & Resettlement [POSTPONED - Please check back next year]
Location: Chicago, IL
Cost: $150 + Cost of flights
On this trip, students will learn about the struggles refugee immigrants face in coming to the U.S with the expected goal being to raise awareness, challenge perceptions and encourage behavioral change through the transformative urban immersion program the Br. Darst Center provides.

Schedule

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.

"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

"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."

Newsletter

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.

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!