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Alternative Breaks

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Program Mission

To engage University of Wyoming students in service-learning across a diverse range of subjects and locations.
The goals of UW Alternative Breaks are:

  • Enact positive change through service
  • Empower student leaders
  • Expand teamwork-oriented skills amongst students
  • Educate on social issues
  • Encourage active citizenship



Spring Break Participants:


Go Forth and Do Great Things



Spring Break 2022 Trip Descriptions

Trips will depart Laramie the morning of Saturday, March 12 and return Saturday, March 19 or Sunday, March 20, exact times TBD.

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




Conservation, Stewardship, and Rock Climbing

Lander, Wyoming


Join us for our first ever Alternative Break partnership with the UW Outdoor Program! Participants will spend time learning and serving with the Wyoming Wilderness Association. WWA is a non-profit conservation group that began in 1979 as a group of local wilderness advocates who envisioned the passage of the Wyoming Wilderness Act. WWA was restarted and incorporated with the state of Wyoming in 1994 to serve as a local voice for the protection of wilderness and roadless areas. In addition to serving in the area, students will get to experience some of Lander's world-class rock climbing! Instruction and gear is all provided and no previous climbing experience is necessary.

Lander, Wyoming
Williamson, West Virginia

Community and Economic Sustainability

Williamson, West Virginia


Williamson, a rural coal-mining town in Mingo County, once boasted a population of almost 50,000 residents. With the help of a thriving coal economy in the mid-20th century, jobs and education were accessible and abundant. In recent years, however, like much of rural West Virginia, Williamson has suffered from the coal mining industry’s collapse. Added to the town’s troubles were a series of terrible floods, and subsequent de-populazation. As the town struggles to keep its population above 3,000, the community faces an uncertain future, and must create ways to redefine itself. Participants may work with a variety of organizations in the area focused on the themes of construction and maintenance, cultural heritage and traditions, and sustainable agriculture.


Youth Environmental Education

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. Participants will work with the camp's Outdoor Science School, where young students experience the thrill of nature through hands-on lessons and activities.

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:

Click on this image to pay!

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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