Alternative Break Trips

About BW Alternative Breaks:

Mission Statement: We aim to empower a community of contributing, compassionate and active citizens through student-led education, reflection and direct service experiences called... Alternative Breaks.

The Alternative Break experience provides BW students the opportunity to break from the norm and spend a break volunteering, meeting with community leaders, and learning about social justice issues with fellow BW students at sites around the United States. Each service trip focuses on a social justice issue and educates students about becoming active citizens working for change. Each trip is planned and led by a BW student. A BW faculty or staff advisor also participates in each trip. Alternative Break trips are a great way to make a difference, explore a new city, learn new skills, and meet people with similar interests.

Each of our AB trips are planned using Breakaway's 8 Quality Components Model Learn more about the National Alternative Break movement here.

2023-2024 Alternative Break Student Leadership Team

Congratulations to our new Alternative Break Leadership Team!

Name Contact
Sarah Pounder (Student Director)
Lily Polen
Lily Tope
Lauren Getchey
Hannah Dodson
Manav Patel
Mehraeel Saleh
Alaina Hayes ahayes21@bw.ediu
Jenna Schifano
Hope Murphy

COVID-19 + Alternative Breaks

We recognize that the pandemic context changes continuously. The BW AB program will continue to follow all local, state and national / CDC guidelines regarding safety and travel precautions. All participants will be expected to follow all BW guidelines during travel (including masking in vans) and all guidelines of our host sites (including housing and service sites).

Testing may be required of all participants prior to, during, and after group travel. If the COVID context prevents travel all participants will receive a full refund of travel fees. Some sites may have a vaccination mandate and our trips will follow this mandate.

Application Deadlines:

Application Deadline for Fall Trips: September 11th

Application Deadlines:

Application Deadline for Winter Trips: October 18th

Application Deadlines:

Application Deadline for Spring Trips: January 16th

Application Deadlines:

Application Deadline for Summer Trips: March 11th

Fall 2023

Understanding Trauma & Human Trafficking Survivors

Polaris Project reports in 2021 that 10,359 situations of Human Trafficking were reported to the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline. This Alternative Break experience will provide insights into centers local to the trip location that provides resources to those who have survived through the coercion of labor and/or commercial sex. Simultaneously, participants will be gaining more information of how trafficking occurs, the every day experiences of survivors, and what policies have been in place to better protect the men, women, and children in these situations. This experience provides a space to work directly with community leaders and organizations.

Apply here:

Out of the Darkness Walk

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young adults and data shows that 9 out of 10 students report having experienced negative mental health symptoms during COVID-19. Join BW as we participate in The Out of the Darkness Walk, Cleveland. The Out of the Darkness Community Walk is a journey of remembrance, hope, and support. It unites our communities and provides an opportunity to acknowledge the ways in which suicide and mental health conditions have affected our lives and the lives of those we love and care about.

Apply here:

Winter 2023

Interfaith and Social Justice

Gain the experience of a lifetime as you partner with the Brain Center and the office of Faith and Life as we look at the intersection of interfaith and social justice on this service-based winter alternative break! We invite you to come with us as we partner with a community, religious non-profit organization by furthering their mission as we prepare holiday programming and participate in social, and emotional interaction with children and youth in areas of high need. Apply here today!

Apply here:

FCA Trip

Topic and descriptions coming soon...

Apply here:

Spring  2024

Becoming an Agent of Change: A Student Voter Campaign for our Future

During the 2020 presidential elections, Baldwin Wallace had a decrease in voter registration, but an increase in voting rate whether it was in person or absentee. (Voter registration rate down 9% in 2020, Voting rate up 12%, Absentee voting rate 33% increased by 11%). With the presidential elections beginning the fall of 2024, knowing your rights, and understanding the electoral processes (and future challenges), as college students, is instrumental to creating the United States you want. This alternative break will give you an in-depth, personal experience with voting (no matter the side you prefer or if you even want to vote) and show you how exactly the US's democracy works to create even more thoughtful committed citizens ready to be the change.

Apply here:

FEB 24th-25th

Jacket LINK: Fighting Local Food Insecurity

In areas surrounding Baldwin Wallace, 1 in 4 individuals and their families are unsure of where their next meal will come from. Food insecurity is a large issue demolishing our country day by day; this trip focuses on helping to end hunger locally and provide our services to the people and organizations that we interact with the most. This spring weekend alternative break trip gives students the opportunity to give back to the community we have surrounded ourselves with in the constant fight to prevent hunger insecurity from spreading to even more areas and families. Join this trip and support a mission that needs constant attention!

Apply here:

Summer 2024

Alternative Breaks Trips | Application Process

Please note: All trip locations will be undisclosed until participants are selected for trips. Previous AB Trip locations have included cities such as: Chicago, IL; Portland, OR; Clarkston, GA; Roanoke, VA; Biloxi, MS; Kansas City, MO; Austin, TX; Washington DC and many more!

Application & Selection process:

(1) Complete trip application via BW GivePulse by the application deadline

(2) Attend an AB Basics workshop (required of all AB trip applicants) - this workshop provides an overview of the AB trip experience, as well as the commitments and responsibilities of all AB participants. Details of day/time available in AB application.

(3) Trip leaders review all applications and conduct individual interviews with applicants.

(4) After interviews, trip leaders extend invitations to up to 10 participants per trip. Our trips often have waitlists. If a participant is unable to participate in a trip someone from the waitlist will have an opportunity to join.

(5) If you are selected pay your $25 deposit to hold your spot on your trip!

Alternative Breaks Policies & Process

What is Alternative Break?

Alternative Break is an intense service experience during one of BW's breaks. It is an opportunity to serve with fellow BW students, make new friends, make a difference, and travel to other parts of the country and even the world. The focus on Alternative Break trips is direct service, reflection, and education. Each trip focuses on a different social justice that participants will explore before, during, and after the trip. The goal is to develop informed and active citizens committed to working for change.

Commitment & Pre-Trip Preparation

Being an Alternative Break participant requires time, energy, and commitment. Participants agree to invest time and energy in order to make this experience a success. Participants must attend all AB events including a retreat and group meetings before, during, and after the trip. These pre-trip meetings provide the educational foundation and team-building for a successful trip experience. If you miss pre-trip group meetings, you may be removed from the trip.

Cost & Payment Policies

Costs vary based on the length of the trip. Trip fees cover participation site fees, transportation, lodging, and most meals during the trip. Fees do not cover meals during travel days or baggage fees for flights/trains. This cost does include the $25 required deposit. Participants who accept a spot and then drop a trip after our drop deadlines are responsible for the full cost of the trip even if they choose not to participate.

  • Alternative Weekend Break: $75
  • Alternative Fall Break: $125
  • Alternative Thanksgiving Break: $175
  • Alternative Winter Break: $250
  • Alternative Spring Break: $250
  • Alternative Summer Break: $250

For more information about AB Trip costs, scholarships, and payment schedule please view:

Alternative Break - Payment Schedule, Fees and Instructions.pdf

Trip scholarships are available! Once you have been selected for a trip - please complete this form.

BW Honors Program students may be eligible for full trip funding! Please check with your Honors program advisor for more information.

Alcohol/Drug-Free Policy

Alternative Break trips are alcohol and drug-free. No alcohol is to be consumed, whether participants are of legal of age or not. Individuals who are found to be consuming alcohol will be sent home at their own expense. The BW University Code of Conduct applies while on this trip.

BW AB Risk Management and Emergency Procedure.pdf

Van Training

All AB Trips use the BW vans. An acceptable number of BW-certified drivers must be available for each trip. Therefore, students selected to participate, who have a valid driver's license, are expected to participate in BW van training.