Alternative Break programs let you volunteer, perform community service and have unique learning opportunities during your winter or spring break. By spending time immersed in a new community, you’ll learn about your role as a global citizen, make new friends and connections, and discover how you can become an agent of change.
After your trip, you’ll be able to share the lessons you learned with your classmates, and continue volunteering in the local community.
The Student Engagement office offers Alternative Break Trips that engage students in direct service to address community needs. Each trip will focus on a social justice issue and allow students to learn about themselves and others while volunteering locally, nationally, and internationally. Trips may vary year to year depending on the availability of community partners and the prevalence of social justice issues to be addressed.
Below are descriptions of the trips for the 2024 programs.
Canada and the United States have taken distinct paths in healthcare reform. Canada has embraced a publicly funded, single-payer system, while the US employs a mixed system with a blend of private and public elements. Join this team to learn about healthcare systems in the US and Canada and volunteer with various non-profit organizations that provide support and resources to reduce health inequity in Canada.
Please Note: If you are an international student, you will likely need a visa to attend this trip. You can verify your entry requirements HERE. Visa costs will be at the expense of the student in addition to the cost of the trip.
The LGBTQIA+ rights movement in the USA has encountered numerous challenges in its quest for fundamental human rights. Transgender and non-binary individuals, especially those from marginalized communities, still experience higher levels of violence and bias. During this trip, participants will gain insight into the inequalities faced by LGBTQIA+ community members, and explore how legal changes, extensive education, cultural transformation, and advocacy, contribute to a global environment where every individual is treated equitably.
On this alternative break trip, students will explore how they can be and what it means to be more civically engaged. Participants will learn about critical challenges facing our nation, interact with community leaders, and perform short-term projects with community agencies that work to enact positive social change. Join this team to develop the skills and connections necessary to become lifelong active citizens.
The United States has the highest prison and jail population and the highest incarceration rate in the world. Participants on this trip will learn about the U.S. criminal justice system and areas in need of reform within the system. Team members will volunteer with and learn from community organizations in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and learn about disability rights, voting rights, and reentry, as well as racial, gender, and socio-economic disparities within the justice system.
The application process for the 2024 Alternative Break Trips is now closed! Please check back in September 2024 for more information about our 2025 Alternative Break trips!
Any UB student can apply for the Alternative Break program. Each Alternative Break trip typically has 8-15 student participants, two student team leaders and two staff advisers. Students travel as a group to their specified destination with the staff advisers.
The cost for Alternative Break trips ranges widely depending on the trip. The cost per trip is mostly determined based on location and transportation needs. Applicants can request an estimate from the Student Engagement office to determine if the trip is affordable for them. Please note that we are only able to provide estimates when they are available - the actual cost of a trip will still vary.
Students who are accepted on trips will receive a detailed estimate of the cost of their trip and can discuss financial options with our team then. Financial support may be available; please contact the Student Engagement office for more information.