Discover | Serve | Impact
Transform your breaks into adventures with purpose!
Make a difference and change the world through meaningful service projects that integrate education, reflection, and leadership development.
Transform your breaks into adventures with purpose!
Alternative Breaks are multi-day service-based trips for academic credit that focus on serving communities both near and far. You will have the opportunity to learn about social and environmental issues, meet other Boise State students, and build your resume. Trips take place in both the fall and spring semesters during break periods. Trip offerings are based on student interests and community needs.
You will dive into the issues related to your team before the service project through the LEAD 225 academic course. Further, you’ll learn what it means to become a catalyst for collaborative social change
The Alternative Break program includes a service-learning course that leads up to the service projects. This fun and interactive class will provide you with opportunities to explore the theory of integrating service, education, and reflection to create meaningful change in communities both near and far.
The class includes five three-hour sessions (four before your trip and one after you return). The first half of each class will cover general instruction on the theory of integrating service, education, and reflection. The second half of class will be used as individual trip meeting time where students will prepare for their specific trip topics and experiences. Connections to local service opportunities and community partners will also be included.
LEAD 225 is offered in both the fall and spring semesters.
Through this class, you will get to know your fellow trip participants and staff trip leader.
You have the option to register for 1-credit, 3-credits, or request to audit the course.
After accepting your spot on your trip, you will be emailed a permission number to enroll in the course the same way you would register for your other classes for the semester. You must do so by the first day of class. You will likely have registered for your other classes before this point, so it’s important to keep your schedule in mind to make room for LEAD 225 if accepted on an Alternative Break trip.
All participants are required to register, attend, and participate in LEAD 225. Minimum participation includes completing a pre and post-assessment, class readings and reflections, and participating in the service project. The 3-credit section has additional requirements, including more in-depth readings and reflection prompts, and a post-trip final project.
Unfortunately, at this time distance learning students are not eligible to participate. The nature of the class requires hands-on local service work and in-person meetings.
Student teachers’ schedules have traditionally conflicted with the LEAD 225 class meetings. However, you may be able to work out an alternative schedule with your teacher/school. This is a conversation we encourage students to have early as the LEAD 225 class is mandatory to participate in the Alternative Break program.
The cost for each trip is noted in the trip descriptions and includes housing, food, travel, and supplies for the different service projects. Take advantage of early bird registration discounts to help reduce costs.
Check out the scholarships and fundraising tab for information on ways to reduce the cost of your participation.
Trip payments can be made by depositing cash/check or by paying online via credit/debit card to the Student Involvement and Leadership Center. Specific instructions are sent to students after they are accepted into the program.
Passports are required for international trips and are not included in the trip cost. Boise State’s Global Learning Office is a US Passport Acceptance Facility. Visit their website to view more information about fees and processing timelines.
We encourage participants to bring a small amount of cash with them for personal food during travel days, possible souvenirs, and in case of an emergency.
Alternative Break Scholarships are intended to provide financial support to students who would otherwise not be able to participate in this program.
The scholarship application should be submitted at the same time as applying for an Alternative Break.
Scholarship recipients may receive up to 75% of the total cost of the remaining trip fee (excluding any non-refundable deposit amount).
Decisions are based on financial need and the amount of available scholarship funds each year.
To assist with verifying financial need, scholarship applicants must have completed their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for need-based scholarships and priority aid for the current academic year.
Contact email@example.com with any questions.
We encourage students to fundraise individually and as a group to help cover the cost of their trip. Some ideas include asking friends and family to donate to a trip fund; working a few extra hours a week; and asking for birthday/holiday gifts to be donations for your trip.
It is important to note that since donations are going toward an individual and not to the University the donations are not tax-deductible.
There is one application for all alternative breaks. Notifications will be sent via the email address provided in the application. Miss the application deadline? Please fill out the Alternative Break Interest Form so that we can contact you regarding future opportunities to engage in the alternative break program.
Students are selected based on their answers to the questions on the application. A team of individuals reviews the applications and then assembles groups of trip participants. There are no prerequisites to participating in an alternative break other than being a current Boise State student. Due to the in-person class requirement distance students are at this time not eligible to participate. Our goal is to assemble groups comprised of individuals with diverse experiences and perspectives for each of the trips. Any remaining applicants are placed on a waiting list and contacted in the event that a participant declines their spot or is no longer able to attend.
This experience offers a great introduction to animal wellness and advocacy. You will volunteer with the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, the nation’s largest no-kill animal sanctuary. This nonprofit works tirelessly to advocate for, rehabilitate, and provide a home for homeless pets and wildlife. Service projects will include maintaining the cleanliness and infrastructure of the grounds and connecting with multiple types of animals onsite. You will have the opportunity to bring pets home in the evenings for “sleepovers.” The group also has the opportunity to visit Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park.
This team will work locally with the staff and volunteers of our local St. Vincent de Paul chapter. This organization helps people in need by assisting with food, housing expenses, clothing, furniture, and other basic human needs. You will have a chance to volunteer with both their thrift stores and their food pantry. You will work alongside their staff and other volunteers, directly serving those in need. Further, you’ll learn about the complex issues that contribute to homelessness and food insecurity.
Travel, hike, and camp in one of Idaho’s most iconic backcountry locations – Hells Canyon. This is a ten-mile-wide canyon on the western border of Idaho, cut by the Snake River. Work alongside members of the Idaho Trails Association, whose mission is to keep Idaho’s hiking trails open for all. You will complete needed trail maintenance projects and other trail stewardship projects along the Allison, Kinney, and Eckels Creek trails. You will also learn about land preservation and protection. This trip involves tent camping at the Big Bar campground, so you’ll be sleeping under the stars along the trails you’ll be preserving!
Learn about food deserts and food insecurity in the Treasure Valley, as well as how broad community partnerships and networks band together to provide students, families, and Idahoans with nourishing food. On an individual level, we’ll learn about sustainable cooking practices, food preservation, healthy eating strategies, and what we can do to address the impact of climate change on our food systems.
For our service projects, we’ll team up with our very own Campus Food Pantry and Southwest Idaho’s St. Vincent de Paul Food Bank to help build and deliver their annual Thanksgiving Meal Kits. Additionally, we’ll work with the Idaho Food Bank, the Boise Farmers Market, the City of Good’s volunteering network, the Idaho Botanical Gardens, and the Boise Urban Garden School to learn about their work and how we can join the fight to feed those who call Treasure Valley home.