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Alternative Break Program

Thank you for your interest in the Alternative Break Program. Keep reading for 2023 alternative spring break trip descriptions.


What is an Alternative Break?

During alternative break trips, teams of college students engage in 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 are usually about one week 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.

Please review the previous Alternative Spring Break Trips and FAQs to learn more about the program, and participant expectations and responsibilities.

Below you will see the themes and trips we are offering in 2023. For more information or for 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, DC

Countering Antisemitism, Choosing Dignity and Relationship-Building
The group will be visiting the US Holocaust Memorial and Museum, learning about antisemitism and how to combat it from a guest speaker, performing a service project with a local not for profit organization, touring the US Capitol, and finally enjoying some free time in Washington, DC.

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 afternoons at the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley. This is a commuter trip with no overnight lodging. Trip leaves Ramapo College each morning.


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

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.

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

There will be a selection committee for each trip composed of students, faculty, and/or staff who will review the applications and make selection recommendations to the Director of the Center for Student Involvement, the Assistant Director for Community Service, and the Coordinator for Political and Civic Engagement.

When will I be notified if I am selected?

Applicants selected to become an alternative break participant will be notified before the end of each fall semester.

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

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 has at least one student leader and 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. All participants will be provided with a copy of the Refund Policy.

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 5/3/23, 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 three (3) pre-trip solidarity 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 so on. 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 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. Applications should become available each October for March trips.