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Alternative Breaks

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Program Mission

To engage the University of Wyoming community in service and experiential learning while promoting global citizenship.
The goals of UW Alternative Breaks are:

  • Enact positive change through service
  • Empower student leaders
  • Develop community amongst UW students
  • Educate on social justice issues
  • Encourage active citizenship


 Winter Break Participants:


Spring Break Participants:


Go Forth and Do Great Things


Alternative Break 2020 Locations

Above: Google Earth view of trips. You can read descriptions and locations below.
See past alternative break trips here.


2020 Break Trip Descriptions

Note: Scholarship are available to apply for upon acceptance to a trip


Trinidad & Tobago

Sustainable Development - Winter Break

Trinidad & Tobago


Programs in Trinidad and Tobago take place primarily in Matelot, which is one of the most remote settlements in Trinidad and Tobago. It is the last village on the North Eastern Coast of Trinidad, on the Paria Main Road. As the major sources of income for the remaining residents of Matelot are from fishing, hunting and agriculture, this provides a unique setting for students to experientially learn the complexities of agriculture and sustainable development.

Help develop eco-tourism in the area through restoration of the coastline, local hiking trails and access roads; support leather back turtle conservation efforts; serve with the local fisherman’s association on agricultural education and establish agricultural processing facilities and much more!


Peacebuilding - Winter Break

Northern Ireland


The backdrop to this program is Northern Ireland’s stunning and fascinating beauty. Experience the richness of both rural and urban settings, visit both Catholic and Protestant neighborhoods and discover Belfast, a city like no city in the world. Participants will gain a first hand look at the history of the Troubles, meeting with ex-combatants, politicians and youth workers with both experience in the conflict and peace process.

Participants will get first-hand experience with youth work, peace and reconciliation, mentoring in schools, cross-community mural projects, leadership development, organizational support, and maintenance.

Giant's Causeway


Santa Fe

Affordable Housing - Spring Break

Santa Fe, New Mexico


Work with a nonprofit housing organization to help provide local, affordable homes for families in the heart of Santa Fe - a center for arts, culture, and food. Other potential work includes volunteering for nonprofit home improvement and donation stores to provide home accesories to the public at a fraction of the retail price.


Animal Welfare - Spring Break

Kanab, Utah


Help save the lives of homeless animals by volunteering with a no-kill initiative. Volunteers will help socialize animals, promote pet adoption, and upkeep a no-kill sanctuary in a backdrop surrounded by gorgeous national parks and monuments.

Kanab, Utah



Community Development - Spring Break

Petersfield, Jamaica


Volunteers in Petersfield participate first-hand in the life of a rural community. Working with a local community organization gives volunteers a chance to contribute their skills while absorbing the stories and strength of people working to build a better future for their community. Students have the opportunity to learn about local history and culture; explore the beauty of Jamaica’s urban, rural, and coastal areas; and serve with the Association of Clubs (AOC), a well-established community organization. Volunteers tutor local students, provide computer instruction, and participate in construction, maintenance and repair initiatives, and much more.


Hunger & Homelessness - Spring Break

Los Angeles, California


Students will work with a local non-profit organization to learn about hunger and homelessness in the Los Angeles Skid Row area. Service will be focused on direct engagement with the populace, strengthening the community and changing the way participants think and talk about those experiencing homelessness - all of which will be accomplished in a unique immersion-based setting.

Los Angeles


Las Cruces, New Mexico

Immigration - Spring Break

Las Cruces, New Mexico


Work in a border immersion program to promote and demonstrate justice, kindness, and humility through the intentional exploration of community, simplicity, and social justice in the U.S./Mexico border region. Through community engagement opportunities, volunteers will build relationships and have first-hand educational experiences focused on modern day border issues.


Youth Environmental Education - Spring Break

Boulder Creek, California


Work with a leading nonprofit camp in the heart of the beautiful California Redwoods to strengthen communities through youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. Volunteers take an active role in bringing about meaningful, enduring change in children and families.

The Redwoods


Who can participate in the Alternative Breaks program?
You must be a full time UW student in good academic and disciplinary standing to participate in the Alternative Breaks program.

What expenses are covered by the trip cost?
The cost listed for a trip is all-inclusive. This includes transportation, lodging, admission and program fees, and most meals. The only out-of-pocket expenses you would have are some meals on travel days, incidentals like snacks or coffee, and any souvenirs or other items you choose to purchase.

Are there scholarships available to help with the cost?
Yes. ASUW offers a scholarship which you can learn more about here. The Cheney International Center offers a scholarship for international trips that you can learn more about here. Past students have also received scholarships from outside (non-UW) organizations. Some groups also choose to host fundraisers to offset the cost of the trip.

How does paying for the trip work?
Once you apply and are accepted you will need to fill out paperwork and pay a $50 deposit to secure your spot on the trip. The remaining balance of the trip cost must be paid BEFORE the trip. You can split it up into multiple payments or pay it all at once, whatever works for you.

Do I get my deposit back if I decide not to go on the trip?
In most cases, no. In the event of an emergency or other extreme circumstances deposits will be refunded on a case-by-case basis dependent on timely communication with SLCE staff.

What paperwork will I need to complete?
The application includes the standard UW liability release and model/photo release forms. Once you are accepted you will need to fill out additional paperwork including a participant agreement, medical information, and an emergency contact form. As with the deposit, this must be completed in order to secure your spot on the trip.

What else is required of participants?
All participants are expected to attend all pre-departure meetings and a post-trip reflection session. Participants are also expected to stay in regular communication with their team leader(s); this means responding to phone calls and/or emails within 48 hours. If a participant is not meeting these requirements, they will receive a warning from SLCE staff. If this continues to be an issue, they will be removed from the trip and any payments already made will not be refunded. While on the trip, all participants are expected to represent UW, SLCE, and the Alternative Breaks program in a positive manner. This includes abiding by the UW student code of conduct, The Alternative Breaks drug and alcohol policy, rules and policies of the host organization, and the direction of team leaders. Students who choose not to behave in accordance with this expectation will be sent home at their own expense.

But I am 21, can I drink alcohol on the trip?
No. See the Drug and Alcohol policy at the bottom of the webpage.

I have a friend in (insert trip destination here). Can I spend one night with them?
No. Participants are expected to participate fully in all activities and to spend their time with the group during the trip. While there may be some free time, it is generally limited.

Can I arrange my own transportation and meet the group at the trip destination?
No. All participants will travel with the group.

Do you accommodate medical concerns, food preferences, etc?
We do our best to accommodate all students. However, due to the nature of these trips, what we are able to promise varies from student to student and trip to trip. If you have particular concerns you are encouraged to contact SLCE staff before submitting your application.

Participant Payment

If you are going on an Alternative Break trip and need to make a payment, you may do so by clicking below:paypal-pay-here-button.png

Drug and Alcohol Policy

Alternative Break trips are drug and alcohol free. This applies to all participants, even those over the age of 21. Issues of community impact, legality, liability, personal safety, and group cohesion are of concern when alcohol and other drugs are consumed on an Alternative Break. At no time, nor under any circumstance are participants, Team Leaders, or staff members permitted to consume alcohol or any illegal drugs while participating in an AB program. Participants in violation of this policy will be sent home immediately at their own expense.

 2018-2019 Alt Break Infographic

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