Give your break to help a community in need.
Alternative Break Trips are a unique opportunity way to help others during the university’s fall, winter and spring breaks. During your trip, you'll travel in groups to new areas where you'll collaborate with local service providers to meet specific community needs.
The trips, which focus on specific themes to create awareness of social issues, are centered on Break Away’s® Eight Components of a Quality Alternative Break which include:
- strong direct service
- alcohol- and other drug-free
A ninth component, simple living was added to make trips more sustainable.
Environmental Stewardship: Our mission on this trip is to educate both the participants and the public on environmental problems that every being on Earth is facing, and to become involved citizens in protecting the world and its inhabitants. The goals of the trip are to understand the environmental problems we face and ways we can minimize our negative, and maximize our positive, impacts on the environment. We will be serving at a variety of places, including an outdoor education center for K-12 schools, a trash pickup, and a river cleanup. There will be educational components to each service site, along with social changes for the duration of the trip.
Immigration Reform/Refugee Resettlement: This service trip focuses on interacting with immigrants and refugees throughout the southeast in hopes to instill values of empathy and service with all who participate. The mission of this trip is to help make a difference in the lives of the people we meet in any small way we can and to open the minds and eyes of our trip participants to the very real and difficult situation that affects millions of people worldwide. As the topic of immigration and refugees flood media headlines, it is vital to remain educated about the current events in our world that may influence our lives in the United States. Focusing on finding empathy with those from backgrounds potentially very different from us not only makes this big world feel a little smaller, but it also reminds us that we are all humans. Ideally, by the end of the trip, the participants will see refugees and immigrants as much more than a statistic, and they will have learned how to help in any way they can.
Learning Partners are faculty, staff, or GAs selected to enhance the efforts of the trip leaders, engage the group in dialogue, and provide professional support before,during, and after the trip.
- Participate in all service projects, reflection activities, and provide insight and guidance to contribute to student learning
- Take appropriate actions in case of emergency
- Manage finances for meals and fuel (maintain all receipts)
- Drive a 15-passenger van
- Attend pre-trip training with LSC staff (1 hour)
Dates for all ABLs, regardless of trip time:
- Spring Training: April 19, 2019, 3-5 p.m.
- Trip Planning: May-August 2019 (remote)
- All LSC Leader Training: August 21, 2019, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
- Weekly Service Leader Training- Fall 2019 (all semester), Tuesdays from 3-4 p.m.
Dates based on specific trips you are leading:
- 2019 Fall Break: October 10-13, 2019
- Weekly Office Hour: August 29- October 3, 2019 on your own time
- 2020 Winter Break: January 8-12, 2020
- Weekly Office Hour: October 17-November 28, 2019 on your own time
- 2020 Spring Break: March 8-13, 2020
Weekly Office Hour: January 23-March 5, 2020 on your own time
Carly Zerr- ZERRCARL@mailbox.sc.edu
Common Questions About Alternative Break Trips
Applications will be available each semester. As part of the application process, students will write several short essays about their interest in the alternative break to accompany general and demographic information. After submitting a complete application, students will receive a confirmation email. Students will be notified via email of their application status approximately two weeks after the application period closes.
Each day usually lasts from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Trip leaders work hard to coordinate unique service opportunities that meet the need of the community, align with the service theme of the trip, and are meaningful for participants. After the day's service is complete, the group typically returns to the housing site to prepare dinner as a group and participate in reflection to help process the day. There will be some early mornings and late nights throughout the trip but groups return to USC with a strong bond and many amazing memories. Some time on the trip may be spent exploring cultural and sightseeing options of the destination, but the main focus is always service.
We strive to keep the cost of our trips affordable. Currently, the Alternative Fall Break trips cost between $30 to $80 per participant, while the Alternative Spring and Winter Break trips cost between $80 to $150 per participant. If participant fees are a concern, please contact Carly Zerr; email@example.com.
Cool! First, make sure you note that on your application so your leader can plan accordingly when shopping for food. The program will make every accommodation possible, but understand that we adhere to 'simple living' standards which means only $6 per day for food is budgeted for every individual participant. That often means we eat a lot of spaghetti, sandwiches, granola bars and other easy, inexpensive options. No one goes hungry, but we try to live simply so we can better serve those around us. Simple menus help us keep our trip costs low — they're one reason our alternative break trips are among the most affordable in the nation. If your food accommodations require more expensive items, you may be asked to supply some of those.
No. All trips are alcohol- and drug-free. During service immersion experiences such as these, we seek to create an inclusive environment that all can participate in and enjoy. Whether you're 17 or 71, all participants must follow the alcohol- and drug-free nature of our trips.
All transportation will be provided by a University of South Carolina staff member who has been cleared through the university and has completed and passed van driver training. Your chariot will be one of the university's 15-passenger vans.
Although trips are not religiously affiliated, we stay at community centers, college campuses, and/or church halls. The lower-cost lodging options allows us to live simply and keep trip costs low for participants.
Yes. Your trip will not include any souvenirs so if you want them, you'll need to purchase them. Also, while the trip may supply some snacks, you may want a soda or something else when you stop for gas. Most trips will raise enough money to cover meals; however, some trips may not provide food on the drive to and from the site. Speak to your trip leader about how much extra money is appropriate and if all of your meals will be provided.
Have a question?
Please email Carly Zerr at ZERRCARL@mailbox.sc.edu or call 803-777-7130.