What is Alternative Breaks?

Alternative Breaks offers a chance to raise students' self-awareness, supplement their educational experience with the university, and demonstrate Cal Poly's enthusiasm to make a positive impact outside of the campus community. Students are immersed in another culture, which provides the opportunity to examine social issues, reflect on their own positions of power and privilege, and build intercultural competence. Volunteer service project trips give Cal Poly students a chance to make a lasting contribution and work together to develop skills as global citizens.

The Center for Service in Action hosts multiple Alternative Breaks trips throughout the year, providing students with a chance to make a difference during their breaks from the academic school year. Cal Poly students have the opportunity to serve their global community while exploring outside their positions of privilege. 

Domestic service trips occur every winter and spring breaks, and global service trips occur during the beginning of summer break. 

Details of each trip vary, but typically involve humanitarian aid such as: tutoring low-income children, homeless shelter and food bank support, disaster relief, habitat restoration, and other community development projects in place where we are serving.

All trips include pre-trip orientation training workshops, evening group reflections, and free time to explore the area. All trips are led by Cal Poly staff. If you would like more information about applying to an Alternative Breaks experience, come to an information session or contact us at altbreaks@calpoly.edu or (805) 756-5338.

Upcoming Trips...

We are slowly bringing the Alternative Breaks program back into operation.  There will not be a winter break trip to New Orleans, but instead we are moving that trip to spring break 2022.  Of course, this trip is tentative, pending ongoing assessment of COVID-19 conditions in New Orleans. Unfortunately, we are no longer offering an Alternative Break - Global service trip to Cape Town, South Africa this summer due to COVID-19 conditions and precautions. The health and safety of Cal Poly students and staff is always our primary concern.

Check back here for more details on these projects as they are developed.  Thanks for your interest in the Alternative Breaks program at Cal Poly!


Contact Us

Center for Service in Action
Building 52, Room E22
Phone: (805)756-5338
Email: altbreaks@calpoly.edu


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