Alternative Break Program

The mission of the Alternative Break Program is to engage students in meaningful and collaborative community service in an effort to increase awareness of social issues and strengthen the communities in which they serve as well as foster a strong sense of community among trip participants and the university as a whole.

Alternative Break Trips provide a unique opportunity for Carolina students to make a difference during the university’s fall, winter, and spring breaks. During these trips, students travel in groups to new areas where they collaborate with local service agents to meet specific community needs. Each trip is focused on a specific theme that helps students gain a well-rounded perspective of a specific social issue. Our trips are centered on Break Away’s ® Eight Components of a Quality Alternative Break which include: strong direct service, orientation, education, training, reflection, reorientation, diversity, alcohol- and other drug-free. A ninth component, ‘simple living’ was added to make trips more sustainable.

To keep the focus of the program on service rather than location, participants do not learn the location of their trip until they have committed to the trip and attended the first trip meeting. Previous destinations have included Durham, N.C.; Merritt Island, Fla.; Nashville, Tenn.; Kissimmee, Fla.; Atlanta, Ga.; Savannah, Ga., and more. All trips are domestic, and fall trips will travel no further than five hours from Columbia, with winter and spring trips traveling no further than eight hours from Columbia.

Frequently Asked Questions

Fall Break applications are live!

For the 2017 Alternative Fall Break, participants will be serving from Thursday, Oct. 19-Sunday, Oct. 22.

The Alternative Break Program will provide transportation and food for the duration of the trip. A $50 trip fee is required to participate.

Applications close on Friday, Sept. 22 at midnight.

Apply now to participate in the 2017 Alternative Fall Break trip!