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Alternative Break Program

Thank you for your interest in the Alternative Break Program! Read below to learn about the most recent trips that occurred during the 2024 Spring Break!


What is an Alternative Break?

Alternative break trips offer the chance for groups of college students to engage in civic learning and community service; typically focused on a particular social issue such as, but not limited to: food or housing insecurity, education reform, historical education and conservation, environmental stewardship, or urban and rural community development.

Trips range from 2 – 10 days in duration. Through these trips, students become immersed in the political, social, and cultural dynamics of the communities where they are volunteering. During these trips, students often stay in non-traditional or communal housing with their group and their group leader. Participation in alternative breaks allows for connection with fellow Roadrunners, along with larger communities– be it a destination abroad or here in the United States. Last but certainly not least, the opportunities for self-discovery, self-growth, and community connection are abundant on these trips.

Alternative Break Trips for 2025 will be coming soon!

Below you will see the themes and trips offered during the 2024 spring semester

For more information about these trips or how to get involved, please contact the Civic and Community Engagement Center by email at or by phone (201)-684-7594.

Washington, D.C.

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

The group visited 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 attended programming at American University, along with meeting with a member of Representative Josh Gottheimer’s (NJ-5) staff at the U.S. Capitol. Students also participated in a self-guided walking tour exploring Black history in the Nation’s Capital. The group had the opportunity to explore the National Mall and have free time as well.

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 visited the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum to gain an overview and then explored 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 also volunteered for two mornings at the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley. This was a commuter trip with no overnight lodging. The trip left Ramapo College each morning with students traveling together via provided transportation.

Dayton, Tennessee

Trailblazers: Creating Paths and Connecting Communities in Tennessee and Beyond

The group partnered with the Cumberland Trail Conference to work on and learn about the more than 300-mile-long Cumberland Trail. The group had the opportunity to work on a section of the Piney River Trail. After days on the trail, students had the opportunity to listen to evening presentations and programming focused on environmental stewardship and the community they were residing in. The group had a day of exploration in Chattanooga, Tennessee to explore the Incline Railway and Chattanooga Zoo, along with enjoying some local bites.

Alternative Break Applications are currently closed. 

More information about Winter Break 2025 to come! 

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.

Students must be in good academic standing, having a cumulative GPA of 2.7 or higher.

When will I be notified if I am selected?

Applicants selected to become an alternative break participant will be notified in a timely manner.

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

In 2024, four trips were offered, split between Spring and Winter Break. 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.

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

Refunds are only issued in rare instances.

  • For trips not involving air travel:
    • The initial payment (which historically is around 60% of the trip cost) is non-refundable. If students choose to pay in full during the payment cycle, only a portion of the cost will be refundable.
  • For trips involving air travel
    • The initial payment (which historically is around 60% of the trip cost) is non-refundable. If students choose to pay in full during the payment cycle, only a portion of the cost will be refundable. Once your plane ticket has been generated, no refunds will be issued, under any circumstances.

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 two (2) mandatory pre-trip meetings. You are responsible for attending each meeting. These meetings will cover health and safety, daily itineraries, team-building exercises, and provide a space to voice questions or concerns. It is critical that you make yourselves available for these meetings in order for the group to make the most of their experience. Dates for the meetings will be provided before or when the application opens, so we expect that you do what you can ahead of time to make yourself available. If you do not attend the pre-trip meetings, your ability to participate on the trip may be revoked.

  • If you are unable to attend the meeting dates provided for your trip, please let the Coordinator for Community Engagement, Allie Shapiro, know at least 14 days in advance. The Civic and Community Engagement Center will make accommodations to the best of our ability, as we want you to participate in these awesome experiences!

Once you have returned from your respective trip, you will be responsible for attending at least one (1) post-trip presentation, and the Civic Engagement celebratory reception that takes place each April. 

How do I get more information?

Visit the Civic and Community Engagement Center Archway page online and the Civic or email for more information. You are more than welcome to stop by our office in room SC-213 as well!

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.