FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Your Questions, Answered
Browse below to find answers to the most common questions about Alternative Breaks. Go through the list we’ve provided, but if anything is still unclear, get in touch and we’ll be happy to assist you.
What is Alternative Breaks?
Alternative Breaks (AB) is a program within the Center for Community Engagement that sends small groups of UT students to communities outside central Texas on service-learning trips during Spring Break and Summer. These trips allows UT students the rare opportunity to travel outside their communities to work with unique people in a different community. Participants will learn of the social justice issues their unique community is facing, learn how to work with their community to build a beneficial mutual relationship, and deal with the issues facing their community. Lastly, the service trip will also count towards community service requirements so students can collect volunteer hours in a immersive and life changing way.
Who can participate?
Alternative Breaks is open to all UT Austin students. No prior Alternative Breaks, travel, or service experience is required. The most important requirements are an open mind, a passion for social justice, and a desire to learn and work together to help create change.
What exactly will participants be doing on their respective trip?
Participants will be working with the local communities to advocate or alleviate a plethora of social justice issues such as poverty, gentrification, LGBTQIA+ advocacy, Systemic Racism, Environmental sustainability, and immigration. Furthermore, participants will have the opportunity to explore their respective cities and meet with local public figures.
What qualifications are you looking for within a participant?
The only requirement for Alternative Breaks is that participants make it to all AB events in order to prepare for their service trips (Dates specified in application). Alternative Breaks is a wonderful opportunity for those who are interested in a public service career, policy, grassroots organizations, or community service. That does not mean that you have to have an interest in those specific areas to apply for Alternative Breaks. At the core, Alternative Breaks coordinators are looking for bright individuals who are passionate about social justice and embraces the core of AB, which is learning, community, service, simplicity, and active citizenship.
How will AB participants reach their trip location? What mode of transportation will be used?
All AB participants will travel with their groups to their respective trip location. Throughout the various AB trips participants will travel by SUV, van, or plane. Once they arrive participants should prepare to walk, use various modes of public transportation, and be driven by SUV.
How safe will I be?
As with any travel, there are dangers but steps have been taken to minimize all risk because safety is the top priority for all Alternative Breaks trip. Each trip’s routes and sites are screened carefully to ensure the safety of all participants. During the trips, participants will be participating in AB lead activities from night to day so participants will never stray from the group.
What are AB policies on Alcohol? Drugs?
There is a zero tolerance for use of alcohol and drugs during the Alternative Breaks experience. Any instance of a participant possessing or consuming drugs or alcohol during the trip will result in the participant being sent home and charged the full price of transportation with no chance of refund.
What are the living, eating, and sleeping arrangement like?
The trip expense will pay for everything besides souvenirs so do not worry about paying extra. The sleeping quarters are modest, participants will be sleeping in bunks, cots, or in sleeping bags throughout the trip. Meals will be provided for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Most meals will be home-cooked by participants but there will be opportunities to try local restaurants. Strict diet preferences will be accommodated for if specified.
How much will it cost to participate in Alternative Breaks?
The trips cost depends on the trip location. We strive make the trip as cheap (or free) as possible with a trip never exceeding $500. To alleviate the expense, there will be fundraising and scholarship opportunities available to AB participants that will reduce the total cost. Also, payments will be due in increments so there is no need to pay all at once.
How many students will be accepted to attend each trip?
About ten UT students, two trip leaders, and one graduate student will be selected to attend each trip.
All AB participants will leave for their trips during the week of Spring Break, between March 9th-17th. 2024. Number of days vary depending on trip location/travel time.
When will participants leave for their respective trips?
Alternative Break trips are selected by the Trip Leaders during the summer. Look out for our application in the fall for more details. In the past we have traveled to New Orleans, San Francisco, Mexico City, South of Texas, Houstin and Austin
What are the locations AB participants will travel too?
What does the application process look like?
Details on the participant application process can be found on the Alternative Breaks application which is released during the Fall semester, and are due mid November. For a short summary, participants will have to fill out the online application and if selected, applicants will participate in an interview. Applications for leaders of the (The Collective) are open now.
What type of volunteering would I be doing?
Each trip varies in the type of volunteering you will be participating in, some consisting of intensive manual labor such as: digging, building, lifting, cleaning etc. While others may be less labor intensive such as: gardening, sorting files, packing bags, serving food etc. You will be informed of what type of work you will be doing prior to the trip.