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Alternative Break Program

Do more with your time off: build a stronger community, impact lives, and transform your personal adventure with real-world experience. 

Alternative Break


Western Carolina University offers Alternative Break trips every fall and spring break, as well as long weekend trips each semester. During an Alternative Break, you'll perform short-term, community-based service while exploring and learning about the new community you're in. Week-long trips cost approximately $150, and weekend trips are approximately $50; costs cover food, lodging, and transportation to the Alternative Break city.

Recent trips have gone to sites including South Africa, Chattanooga, New Orleans, Washington DC, New York City, Baltimore, Nashville, Charleston, Tuscaloosa, and Lexington. We also occasionally sponsor international trips, to locations like Panama and Costa Rica.

Alternative break participants volunteer with a wide range of organizations, such as Habitat for Humanity, Ronald McDonald House, the Salvation Army, local soup kitchens, food pantries, homeless shelters, children's homes, art museums, and summer camps.

The WCU program follows the eight components of a quality alternative break program (formulated by BreakAway, the national Alternative Break organization):

  1. Strong direct service
  2. Orientation
  3. Education
  4. Training
  5. Reflection
  6. Reorientation
  7. Diversity
  8. Alcohol / Drug-Free

Interested in discovering a new city while participating in community service? Contact the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning at 828.227.7184 or for upcoming trips and how to get started.

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