At UVU, an Alternative Break is a trip where students get to engage with a social problem through one or more of the six pathways to social impact. We carefully curate each of our trips to help students develop empathy, examine their assumptions, explore social problems outside of Utah Valley, and develop patterns of involvement in their own communities. Historically, Alternative Breaks are traditionally focused on direct service, but we've done a lot of work to expand our program to include other strong educational components.

2020 Alternative Break Information

This year we are hosting four Alternative Breaks, held between March 15th and 21st, with prices ranging from $150 to $400. 

Topics, locations, and trip information is below!

Each participant is required to attend two pre-trip meetings and one post-trip reflection gathering. 

Applications for all trips due on January 24th

Apply Here

Partial scholarships are available for select First Generation students.

Students working on a habitat restoration project with Swaner EcoCenter in Park City, UT


Homelessness - Portland, Oregon

The Break


On the Portland Alternative Break, you will work with a non-profit that focuses on transitioning the homeless population out of their current situation. You will stay at JOIN and taking part in a variety of service opportunities and learning moments, so that we may get to know the stories of some of their residents and  become more educated on homelessness.                                                                                                             

Dates: Monday, March 16th - Friday, March 20th

Cost: $250

An Alternative Break participants smiles as people around her are working on wood projects.


Partner: JOIN Portland

JOIN exists to support the efforts of individuals and families experiencing homelessness to transition into permanent housing. Our efforts are directed at individuals sleeping outside or in their car in the Portland Metro area. Our service provision is not dependent on age, gender, race, ethnicity, faith, culture, language, sexual identity, specific diagnosis, or identifiable issue.





Sustainable Cities - San Diego, California

Balboa Park at night.

The Break

Learn about urban sustainability (think transportation, smart growth, affordable housing, and green space) as you explore San Diego. On this break, you'll get to: 
  • Take a behind-the-scenes look at conservation research at San Diego Zoo
  • Explore social, cultural, & botanical sustainability at Balboa Park
  • Connect public health and sustainable building at the Salk Institute

Days: Monday, March 16th - Saturday, March 21st

Cost: $400

Partner: Marika Snider

I am an architect, educator, and storyteller who celebrates the small, the forgotten, and marginalized architecture through film, writing, teaching, and historic preservation.

I am an Assistant Professor at Utah Valley University where we are developing new architecture program. Currently I’m teaching Design Studio I, Building Codes and Construction Law, and Introduction to AutoCAD. I love UVU for its inclusive approach to education and beautiful location.

Currently I’m interested in improving the built environment through historic restorations, greening existing buildings, adaptive re-use, and face-lifts.

Voting Rights - Navajo Nation, Utah

The Break

We'll have two main focuses on this break a) working on census awareness and information campaigns with the Rural Utah Project and b) learning about the Navajo community and issues that their community face. This will include a tour of Bears' Ears National Monument, a meal with chapter leaders, and more! We'll be staying at a bunkhouse in Bluff, Utah, and setting out to work with Rural Utah Project and our other partners throughout the day!

Dates: Monday, March 16th - Friday, March 20th

Cost: $200

Valley of the Gods, Utah

Community Partner: Rural Utah Project

Rural Utah Project seeks to empower underrepresented voters in rural Utah by providing them with tools, training, and knowledge by means of voter registration, education, and issue advocacy on important topics that affect all Utahns. 

Justin Allison: Justin is UVU's Multicultural Student Services Native American Specialist.

Youth Mentoring - Redwood Forest, California

The Break

During a week at Camp Campbell Outdoor Science School, local 5th and 6th grade students, learn about the natural world, explore different natural habitats. During this week, students engage with the natural world, explore forest and river ecosystems, and live in a community with their fellow students.  As volunteers you will be cabin leaders and camp counselors to facilitate this experience for the students. The week includes: swimming, hiking in the Redwood Forest, teaching on environmental science subjects, and exploring Santa Cruz. 

Days: Sunday, March 15th - Saturday, March 21st

Cost: $150

Community Partner: YMCA

YMCA Camp Campbell provides fun, developmental experiences to help young people thrive, build confidence in themselves and others, and become healthy, caring, responsible adults. We believe camp is an essential experience for all children and families, therefore we offer financial assistance for all of our programs. Our camp staff help cultivate the values, skills, and relationships that lead to positive behaviors, healthy habits and educational achievement for our campers.

A cabin in the Redwood forest.