Alternative Breaks Program is a One-of-a-Kind Opportunity for Students and Staff

By Andrea Carlson

The University of Tampa website states, “it is the mission of the PEACE Alternative Breaks Program to increase volunteerism and the individual’s value of service as they work towards becoming active citizens. The program provides an opportunity for direct service combined with participant education and reflection,”

I have never personally been on a PEACE Alternative Breaks Program trip, but I have friends who have gone on multiple trips and loved them.

Alternative Breaks trips focus on social issues like “cultural preservation, animal rights, domestic violence, education, and environmental conservation” according to the university website.

The Alternative Breaks Programs include eight components: “strong direct service, orientation, education, training, reflection, reorientation, diversity, and are alcohol and drug-free.”

I think the program is set up in a way that can be a good, safe space for students, faculty and staff to learn new things, educate themselves, make new friends and experience different world views.

Many students at the university want to or are required to volunteer and providing them with a unique experience is great.

According to the university website, past Alternative Breaks trips have included Cross-cultural Solutions in Rabat, Morocco; AIDS project Los Angeles; Denver Rescue Mission; Oxbow Eco-Center in Port St. Lucie; and Give Kids the World Village in Orlando.

I think the diversity of the location choices is a good thing for college students. It gives them a chance to travel the world while also doing some good. There are options far and near. If someone wants to stay in state they can, or they can travel across the world.

Alternative Breaks can range from a weekend to a week. There were two options for over Spring Break and two options for the week after the Spring semester ends. I like that they provide multiple lengths for breaks because students and staff can work around their schedules.

The weekend trips usually cost less than one hundred dollars to attend, while a week or longer trips cost five hundred dollars or more.  

The Alternative Breaks trips are meant to be minimalistic to keep costs down and focus on volunteering. When they can, groups on trips will stay in hostels, spend little money on food, and go on excursions that don’t cost a lot of money or any at all. I believe this is a very smart move on the program’s part. It cuts costs lower while also allowing people attending to focus more on the actual volunteer work.

The two trips over spring break were to Memphis, Tennessee to volunteer with Serve901, and Boston, Massachusetts to volunteer with Community Servings. Both trips cost five hundred dollars to attend.

I think the price is very reasonable compared to other volunteer opportunities I have heard of outside of the university. It might seem pricey for a college student but a week-long trip for five hundred dollars is not bad in my opinion.

The PEACE Instagram (@peace_volunteercenter) says “the cost of the trip includes food, lodging, transportation, and excursions.” For five hundred dollars, it’s a very good option for college students who want to travel but don’t have a lot of money to spend.

The other two longer trips are happening the two weeks after the spring semester ends. One is going to New York City to volunteer with Junior Achievement to teach financial literacy and life skills at local schools. Examples of excursions for the New York trip include Central Park and the Empire State Building. This trip will cost $650 to attend.

The other trip is going to Cimarrones, Costa Rica to volunteer with Global Vision International to assist in community projects, teaching English, and engaging with women’s entrepreneurship groups. This costs $1500 to attend.

Both two-week long trips are more expensive but for the experience I think it is very affordable. The Costa Rica trip is especially affordable.

I would like to see more advertising for the Alternative Breaks Program because I usually don’t see anything about the trips before it is after the application deadline.

The Alternatives Breaks Program creates opportunities with diverse locations, opportunities, and experiences for students, faculty and staff at the university. I suggest anyone who wants to travel and volunteer take advantage of the program before they graduate.

If students or staff are looking to attend local, national, or international trips that are planned for them, are low cost and allow them to volunteer while also experiencing the destination, the Alternative Breaks Program is a great resource that the University of Tampa provides its community.

If students, faculty and staff would like to attend an Alternative Breaks Program during a future semester, information can be found at the beginning of each semester on the PEACE Volunteer Instagram (@peace_volunteercenter) or InvolveUT.

Back To Top