Our Mission


Alternative Breaks provides immersive volunteer experiences that educate students and foster a lifelong commitment to service. These opportunities address pressing issues and facilitate change in personal perspectives through education, direct service, and reflection.

What We Do

Alternative Breaks is a student-run service learning organization operated by a group of 22 dedicated undergraduate students at the University of Kansas. Our mission is to provide students with hands-on service learning and volunteer opportunities in the community, as well as across the nation. As one of the most prominent service learning initiatives at KU, we provide annual volunteer trips for approximately 800 students, serving over 50 volunteer organizations. We provide a KU class component for our week-long Winter, Spring and Summer programs, where students research topics such as identities & privilege, active citizenship, ethical volunteering, and other facets of volunteerism. Thank you for visiting us, and we hope to see you on our next break!

During our Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer Breaks, groups of seven KU students travel to locations across the country for a week of service. Each group volunteers with a non-profit organization that addresses a specific issue; previous topics include environmentalism, education, community organizing, health, sustainability, homelessness, aging, immigration, LGBTQIA+ rights, and disaster relief. We seek to provide KU students with a unique opportunity to volunteer and facilitate their growth as empathetic, service-minded individuals.

What we address

  • What does volunteering mean in our context and is it valuable?
  • What is the non-profit sector? Why does it exist? Is it effective?
  • What does it mean to be an active member of your own community?
  • How do we examine and interrogate our own identities, assumptions, values, questions, and personal beliefs about our communities?
  • How are existing collective responses to social problems effective or ineffective?

What our members address

  • Identify themselves and recognize their own capabilities, privileges, biases, assumptions, weaknesses and strengths
  • Articulate an understanding of the non-profit sector and volunteerism
  • Discuss social justice, community organization, and civic responsibility
  • Develop interactive skills to work with persons of diverse backgrounds and different value systems
  • Initiate service projects and become active and aware citizens in their own communities