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Alternative Breaks

Alternative Break participant pictures

Alternative Breaks provide students with the opportunity to learn about political and social community dynamics while becoming a catalyst for collaborative social change. Through learning and practice, students will explore the theory of integrating service, education, and reflection to create meaningful change in their communities during their academic breaks.

The 2019 general trip application closed on October 28, 2018. Please fill out our interest form so that we can contact you regarding future opportunities to engage in the alternative break program.



This alternative break will introduce students to the multi-faceted world of homeless support services in Los Angeles, CA. Students will participate in a unique urban experience at the Union Rescue Mission in Downtown LA in addition to working with our community partners throughout the valley. On this experience, participants will learn about the many factors impacting access to opportunity in an urban setting.

Location: Los Angeles, CA (8-10 participants)
Dates: March 16-22, 2019
Cost: ~$650 per person


This experience offers a great introduction to animal wellness and advocacy. Participants will spend the week volunteering with Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, the nation’s largest no-kill animal sanctuary. This nonprofit tirelessly works to advocate for, rehabilitate, and provide a home for homeless pets and wildlife. Volunteer projects will include maintaining the cleanliness and infrastructure of the grounds and connecting with multiple types of animals on-site.

Location: Kanab, UT (8 participants)
Dates: March 17-23, 2019
Cost: ~$400 per person
*Participants on this trip should be aware of possible animal allergies. 


Commitment to Community is a unique spring break experience for students who want to make a difference by starting at the local level. Students will spend their week with organizations and programs that seek to better our city and the people who live here. They will volunteer with the city on foothills restoration projects and meet with Boise city leaders to learn about the unique history of the city and future growth.

Location: Boise, ID (8-10 participants)
Dates: March 16-22, 2019
Cost: ~$130 per person
*Trip fee includes lunches, transportation to and from service sites, and supplies. Lodging not included.


Participants on this trip will go to Zion National Park in Utah and will develop an understanding of natural systems restoration while removing invasive species, doing trail maintenance, and other projects to help maintain a diverse habitat alongside park rangers and specialists in the field.

Location: Zion National Park, UT (8-10 participants)
Dates: March 17-23, 2019
Cost: ~$325 per person
*Participants on this trip will be camping in the park.


This trip aims to take a close look at the state of hunger in our community and centers on the concept of what food security and sustainability look like in practice. Students will work with local farmers, farm workers, and non-profit organizations who specialize in food production, distribution, and access. Participants will learn about food policy, assistance policy, sustainable farming practices, and how all that interacts with the state of hunger in the US.

Location: Boise, ID (8-10 participants)
Dates: March 16-22, 2019
Cost: ~$130 per person
*Trip fee includes lunches, transportation to and from service sites, and supplies. Lodging not included. 


Partnership Jamaica offers a total immersion of self into another culture. It’s an intensive service experience for students who want to make a positive difference in the lives of others, build a better community, and strengthen international relations. It takes place during spring break, typically in both a rural (Treasure Beach) and an urban (Negril) setting on the island.

Location: Negril, Jamaica (17-18 participants)
Dates: March 16-23, 2019
Cost: ~$1,700 per person if paid before 1/18/19
*Participants on this trip will need to have a valid passport by January 2019.

Click here for more information.


Application Process: There is one application for all alternative breaks.  The application usually opens each year in early October and closes before spring class registration opens. Notifications will be sent via the email address provided in the application. Miss the application deadline? Please fill out the Alternative Break Interest Form (Google) so that we can contact you regarding future opportunities to engage in the alternative break program. [/toggle]

LEAD 225: There is a required credit-bearing service-learning course connected to your Alternative Break experience during the spring 2019 semester. You have the option to register for a 1-credit or a 3-credit section of this course. The class meets on five Fridays in the spring semester from 1:30-4:15 p.m. This fun and interactive class will provide you with opportunities to explore the theory of integrating service, education, and reflection to create meaningful change in communities both near and far.  Through this class, you will get to know your fellow trip participants and staff trip leader.  The culmination of this learning will take place on your intensive week-long alternative break trip.

  • How much does the class cost? If you are a part-time student (taking less than 12 credits) or taking more than 17 credits additional class fees may apply.
  • Is it required? This class is required for all alternative break participants. If you think you may be unable to take the class due to a scheduling conflict or other matter please reach out to us to discuss options.
  • What’s the structure of the class? The class will be held bi-weekly on five Fridays throughout the spring semester (four pre-trip and one post-trip). The first half of each class will cover general instruction on the theory of integrating service, education, and reflection.  The second half of class will be used as individual trip meeting time where students will prepare for their specific trip topics and experiences. Connections to local service opportunities and community partners will also be included.
  • What are the differences between the 1 and 3-credit sections of the course? Both sections of the course require class attendance and participation, a pre and post-experience reflection, participation in the spring break service experience, participation in a local service project, and a post-experience group presentation.  The 3-credit section has additional requirements, including required readings, 4 written reflections, and a post-experience written report.
  • Will this course count towards my Leadership and Human Relations Certificate? The 3-credit version of this course counts towards the special topics requirements of the Leadership and Human Relations Certificate offered through the College of Innovation and Design.
  • What is the Leadership and Human Relations Certificate? The Leadership and Human Relations Certificate offered through the College of Innovation and Design is a 16 credit upper division program open to all majors. The certificate is designed to help you learn to work effectively with others, solve problems and make a difference in your field or community.
  • How do I register? After accepting your spot on your Alternative Break, you will be emailed a permission number to enroll in the course the same way you would register for your other classes for the semester.
  • What if I’m a distance learner? Unfortunately, at this time distance learning students are not eligible to participate. The nature of the class requires hands-on local service work and in-person meetings.

Cost: The cost for each trip is split among each participant and includes housing, food, travel, and supplies for the different service projects.  Payments can be made by depositing cash/check or by paying via credit/debit card to the Student Involvement and Leadership Center.

Fundraising: We encourage students to fundraise individually and as a group to help cover the cost of their trip.  Some ideas include asking friends and family to donate to your trip fund; working a few extra hours a week; and asking for holiday gifts to be donations for your trip. It is important to note that since donations are going towards an individual and not to the University the donations are not tax-deductible. If you have questions about fundraising please contact the Student Involvement and Leadership Center at or 208-426-1223.

Students are selected based on their answers to the questions on the application. A team of individuals review the applications and then assembles groups of trip participants. There are no prerequisites to participating in an alternative break other than being a current Boise State student.  Due to the in-person class requirement distance students are at this time not eligible to participate. Our goal is to assemble groups comprised of individuals with diverse experiences and perspectives for each of the trips. Any remaining applicants are placed on a waiting list and contacted in the event that a participant declines their spot or is no longer able to attend.[/toggle]

Pre-Trip: Participants will attend class and individual trip meetings to learn about trip related topics and prepare for on-site experiences.

On-Break: Participants are provided the opportunity to serve with local community partners while reflecting on the root causes of social issues related to their trip.

Post-Break: Participants are provided the opportunity to make sense of their experience and engage in local service opportunities in their journey toward active citizenship.