Frequently Asked Questions


How much is it to go on a trip?

$150 which covers housing, transportation to and from the city (not local transportation). It is non-refundable and it is a program fee, not a deposit. This amount does not cover food and other transportation (such as a MetroCard).

The Florida trip is an exception. The $150 program fee only partially covers the cost of the flight; participants are likely to pay the remaining amount. Housing, on-site transportation, and food costs are provided by the program.

What if I can't afford to go on a trip?

We are one of the only need-blind programs on campus. We have never turned anyone away because of an inability to afford the program fee. When the time comes, you can fill out a financial aid application and meet with our program advisor who can work something out with you.

You have a trip in NYC? That's perfect. I have tons of friends/family in NYC. Can I meet up with them?

We require students to stay with the groups during the entire week and to not meet up with other people. This way, we can stay focused on the issue and bond with every member of the group.

How much of a time commitment is Alt Breaks?

2 to 3 hours per week. There will be a weekly team meeting, some program wide events, and some readings and meeting preparation that you will do between meetings.

What would I do during a typical day at the site?

It will vary by trip, but in general, it involves a range of workshops and interactions with the members at the agency. There are also sight seeing and fun activities planned in the evenings.

I am going home for Spring Break. Can I volunteer during Fall Break/Winter Break/Summer?

Our program only offers trips during spring break, but please stop by the PSC in our new location, 300 Kennedy Hall, for other ways to get involved with service.

How do we get there? Where do we stay?

It will vary by trip.

For the NYC and Lake Placid trips, we take the bus. The Cape Cod and West Virginia team travel in a van. The Florida trip takes a flight to Orlando.

The NYC trips stay in Churches and some apartments provided by our partner agencies. The Lake Placid, West Virginia, Cape Cod, and Florida trip stay in agency provided housing.

How am I expected to commit to a Spring Break trip during the Fall Semester? What if my plans change?

We can definitely relate to that concern. However, come November, if you want to be involved with the program it will be important for you to be able to commit to going on a trip during Spring Break.

How are trip placements made?

Based on your application and interview, trip leaders will place you on the trip they believe you are the best fit for.

How do I apply?

Email the Alternative Breaks account to set up a brief info session and to receive an application. We’ll be accepting applications on a rolling basis for a limited number of trips.

I would only want to go if my roommate/best friend/lover was guaranteed to be going on the same trip as me.

We aren't able to guarantee that, but Alternative Breaks is a great way to meet new people.

What are my chances of getting accepted if I apply?

We can't say exactly, but we want as many people as possible to get the chance to experience a service learning trip.

I am interested in a leadership position. What opportunities are available?

Trip Leader

Trip leaders are trained to prepare weekly curricula, starting in the Fall, that facilitate weekly team discussions regarding the particular social justice issue, with the community agency and service learning issues in general. Trip leaders gain leadership experience, risk management and conflict management skills and gain the invaluable fulfillment of leading their fellow peers on a meaningful, impactful and potentially life-changing service learning trip.

Alternative Breaks

Cornell University Public Service Center Student Programs.

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