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Alternative Break Program

Thank you for your interest in the Alternative Break Program. Keep reading for 2024 alternative spring break trip descriptions.


What is an Alternative Break?

During alternative break trips, teams of college students engage in civic learning and community service typically focused on a particular social issue such as poverty, education reform, or conservation. Some alternative break trips explore other ways, such as role-plays and simulations or think tanks, to work towards the common good.

Trips range from 2 -10 days in duration. Along with performing service, the groups also learn about the culture, customs, and socio-economic conditions of the place—be it a destination abroad or here in the U.S.—where they are volunteering. Last, but definitely not least, participation in alternative breaks contributes to self-discovery, self-growth, and working as a part of a team towards a common goal.

Below you will see the themes and trips we are offering in 2024. Please note that specific elements of a trip are subject to change.

For more information or to speak to someone about the program, please contact the Civic and Community Engagement Center located in SC-213 at (201)-684-7586 or by e-mail at

Washington, D.C.

The Memorialization of Minorities and Genocides in Washington, D.C.

The group will be visiting the National Museum of African American History and Culture, along with the National Museum of the American Indian, learning about the history and culture of both Black and Indigenous peoples in the United States. Students will also visit the White House, Howard University, and do a self-guided walking tour exploring Black history in the Nation’s Capital. The group will have the opportunity to explore the National Mall and have free time as well. Please click here to see the tentative itinerary. This trip departs Sunday, March 17th, and returns Saturday, March 23rd.

Capacity: 8 Students

Cost: $175, $75 due by 2/16/24 and $100 due by 3/1/2024

Hudson Valley, New York (Commuting trip)

Food Insecurity, FDR’s Four Freedoms, and Frances Perkins: Exploring the Origins of the Social Safety Net

The group will visit the FDR Presidential Library and Museum to gain an overview and then explore the impact and ongoing legacy of Frances Perkins. As Secretary of Labor, Perkins was the first woman to serve in a president’s cabinet. Perkins is a key figure in the development of workers’ rights and protections and the social safety net. The group will also volunteer for two mornings at the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley. This is a commuter trip with no overnight lodging. Trip leaves Ramapo College each morning with students traveling together with provided transportation. Please click here to see the tentative itinerary. This trip will take place on Monday, March 18th and Tuesday, March 19th

Capacity: 20 Students

Cost: $30, due by 3/1/2024

Dayton, TN

Trailblazers: Creating Paths and Connecting Communities in Tennessee and Beyond

The group will partner with the Cumberland Trail Conference to work on and learn about the more than 300-mile-long Cumberland Trail. The group will have the opportunity to work on the Piney River Trail and Laurel Snow Trail. After days on the trail, students will have the opportunity to listen to evening presentations and programming on environmental stewardship. The group will have one free day in Chattanooga, Tennessee to explore the Incline Railway and Chattanooga Zoo, as well as enjoy some local bites. Please click here for the tentative itinerary. This trip departs on Saturday, March 16th and returns Sunday, March 24th

Capacity: 8 Students

Cost: $275, $75 due by 2/16/2024 and $200 by 3/1/2024


Alternative Spring Break applications are currently closed


If you have a question that you don’t see listed below, please contact the Civic and Community Engagement Center located in SC-213 at (201)-684-7586 or by e-mail at

How do I apply for an Alternative Break trip?

The application for all the trips run by the Civic and Community Engagement Center will be available on Archway

How does the selection process work?

The Coordinator for Community Engagement will review the applications and decide who is selected to participate in an Alternative Break trip.

When will I be notified if I am selected?

Applicants selected to become an alternative break participant will be notified no later than February 9th, 2024

How many alternative spring break trips are offered and to what destinations?

In 2024, three trips will be offered. In previous years, it has ranged from 2 to 5 trips a year. Previous locations have included Quito, Ecuador; Aranjuez, Costa Rica; Asheville, North Carolina; Perryville, Arkansas and Rutland, Massachusetts.

Are all the trips open to all students?

Most trips are open to all students. Occasionally there are trips that limit applicants to first-year students, commuter students, or other specific populations. Any limitations for applicants will be clearly noted

Are there trip leaders? How are they selected?

Each alternative break trip may have one student leader and always one faculty or staff leader. Those interested in serving in this capacity should contact the Civic and Community Engagement Center for more information. Trip leaders are selected to based on prior experience with alternative break trips or similar travel experiences, overall leadership qualities and abilities, and commitment to work that furthers the common good.

How much do the trips cost?

Each trip will have its own cost. Fees are determined based on transportation, lodging, meals, program and other costs. The Center for Student Involvement subsidizes a percentage of the total cost of each trip.

What about fundraising?

Each trip is encouraged to do fundraising for their respective group. It is also recommended that students fundraise individually to help with cost. The Civic and Community Engagement Center also organizes general fundraising for the program.

Will I receive a refund if I pay for a trip and then can’t go?

Refunds are only issued in rare instances. You must request a refund in writing. For international trips and other trips involving air travel, no refunds will be issued once your plane ticket has been generated.

Will I need a passport for the international trips?

Yes! You will need a valid passport to travel internationally. To be considered for either international trip, you must submit a copy of your valid passport to the Civic and Community Engagement Center at the same time as you submit your application on Archway.

As please note that starting 5/7/25, a Real ID or passport is required for domestic flights as well.

Are there health and safety issues to keep in mind?

Yes! You are the primary guardian of your own health and safety. It is important to remember this. It is also important to remember that you will be traveling with a group. Group members look out for each other and help each other to stay safe and healthy. You will be given a liability waiver and medical information form so that trip leaders can be aware of any health conditions or medical concerns. When traveling to unfamiliar destinations it is crucial to observe the highest safety practices. Always travel with the whole group or at least in pairs. Be certain that someone knows where you are at all times. Observe all the health and safety regulations of the host site. Never take unnecessary risks with your own safety or the safety of others. International health insurance is included in the total cost for International Trips

Once I have been selected for a trip, what are my responsibilities?

Each trip will hold at least 2 pre-trip meetings. You are responsible for attending each pre-trip meeting. These meetings will cover health and safety, itinerary, work projects, team-building exercises, fundraising and more. It is critical that you make yourself available for these meetings in order for the group to make the most of their experience. Once you have returned from your alternative break trip, you will be responsible for attending at least one (1) post-trip solidarity meeting/presentation and for attending, if at all possible, the celebratory luncheon or reception that usually takes place in April.

How do I get more information?

Visit the CCEC Archway page online and the Civic and Community Engagement Center in room SC213 to stay up to date. You can also email

Why are trips alcohol and substance-free?

One reason Alternative breaks were founded was to counter the excesses of “traditional” college spring breaks. Beyond this, alcohol and other substance-free environments promote safety, health, and wellness and offer participants more authentic opportunities for team-building and service to others.