Alternative Breaks

  • Volunteers with cow at VINE Sanctuary in Vermont

    Volunteers at VINE Sanctuary in Vermont

  • Alternative Breaks volunteers group photo

    Alternative Break volunteers

  • Alternative Breaks Service Without Borders volunteers photo

    Service Without Borders volunteers

Alternative Breaks are student-led community engagement programs that promote student leadership, equality, ethical volunteering, and social justice. These programs aim to equip students with the tools, resources, and experience to be effective leaders and allies within their local and global communities.

Student groups partner with local and global initiatives on a variety of social justice issues, from access to medical care to housing inequity. Participants learn from and engage with communities near and far, while building knowledge and skills that will inform their futures.

Our Role

Alternative Breaks crew at work

The Brandeis Department of Community Service offers a number of resources for club leaders and student volunteers including pre and post trip trainings and reflections, risk management information session and group teambuilding. Additionally, this webpage has resources that cover all things service-related to help prepare and support you for the variety of experiences and emotions you might encounter in your volunteering. Never hesitate to stop by our office to use these resources or find support!.

Recent Alternative Breaks

Volunteers for IsraelVolunteers for Israel: Jerusalem & Tel Aviv - February 2019

Brandeis students participated in an ASB trip, "Volunteers for Israel" in which they explored the historical sites of Jerusalem and were immersed in the culture of Tel Aviv. These participants spent several days volunteering on an IDF (Israeli Defense Force) army base, completing small tasks in the communications dept. and helping soldiers to accomplish their duties. Students from various backgrounds were able to learn about the rich history and culture of Israel while sharing their experiences and identities with each other. This trip was coordinated by Brandeis Hillel staff, Sydney Brenner, and was funded by the Boston Jewish federation--CJP.

Habitat for Humanity volunteersHabitat for Humanity of Forsyth County: Winston-Salem, NC - February 2019

Habitat for Humanity returned to the Forsyth County affiliate in Winston-Salem, NC over February break for a week of volunteering, building, and bonding! Volunteers worked on five different sites, installing flooring and constructing walls.

Department of Spiritual and Religious Life volunteers.Brandeis' Department of Spiritual and Religious Life Trip to Miami, FL - February 2019

Shrestha Singh (Brandeis’ Hindu Chaplain) and Matt Carriker (Brandeis’ Protestant Chaplain) led a transformative experience with nine students during February break, learning about social justice in Miami. The students served at various social service agencies and non-profit organizations such as Lotus House and the Redlands Christian Migrant Association. This trip was organized by Brandeis’ Department of Spiritual and Religious Life.

Service without Borders volunteers.Service Without Borders: 7elements - Dominican Republic - February 2019

Service without Borders partnered with 7elements over February Break, working on global and eco health initiatives in the Dominican Republic. 7elements uses United Nations’ Seven Elements of Human Security to guide their work, emphasizing community empowerment, dual development of the community and volunteers, and sustainable projects. Service without Borders worked alongside a Haitian doctor to provide individualized care in local clinics, repaired a water tank, and built a structure out of recycled water bottles.

YourStory International volunteersYourStory International: Haiti - December 2018

Brandeis's YourStory International club went over December break to Haiti to work with the nonprofit YourStory International. One participant remarked, "Haiti was an amazing and memorable experience for me! When there we participating in running a free clinic, field work, and teaching public health for the people of the Leogane area. I made great friends there and the staff had amazing people. I would love to go back for sure."