What is so unique about Alternative Breaks?
Participants have the opportunity to:
• Meet other NIU students who are interested in service
• Learn about cultural and social issues while doing service
• Make new connections across the country
• Build relationships
• Grow, learn, and change your point of view
• Travel without spending a lot of money
• Create social change
How do I apply for an Alternative Break trip?
Decide if HAB is for you by attending info sessions, meeting with the leaders and reading about the planned destinations. Then print out the application, fill it out, and submit to Student Involvement & Leadership Development office in Room 150 of the Campus Life Building deadline given.
Where are the trips going?
Trip destinations change every year, depending on student interest. Look at current trips for this year's destinations.
Who is eligible to go on an Alternative Break trip?
Currently enrolled full-time NIU students, both undergraduate and graduate, who are in good academic and judicial standing with the university.
Can non-NIU students go on an HAB trip?
No. You currently must be an enrolled full-time NIU student to participate.
How much does it cost?
Program costs are $550. This price includes an HAB t-shirt, group transportation, food (while on-site), lodging, and on-site activities (field trips, tours, etc.).
Are there fundraising opportunities available?
Yes, it is our goal to have both fund-raising events for each individual trip as well as large program-wide fund-raisers. Each trip team is required to host at least one fund-raiser prior to spring break. The Alternative Spring Break program also hosts program-wide fund-raisers to assist in lowering trip cost. These fund-raisers include bake sales, Carson Prairie-Scott Community Day sales, and working with local businesses.
I want to go on a trip but I do not think I can afford it. What should I do?
There are many ways to pay for your Alternative Break trip. Please do not allow the price to deter your participation. Groups are encouraged to organize group fund-raising events to pay for their trips, and a fund-raising letter template is provided to all ASB participants to help raise money to fund your trip. Many applicants in the past have been able to raise all or most of the funds for the trip.
Who makes up a trip team?
• Two trained student Trip Leaders (Every team is equipped with an emergency binder containing: local city maps, Northern Illinois University contact information, participant medical insurance verification and location of nearest hospital & police station)
• One Trip Advisor (NIU faculty or staff)
• 10-15 participants/students
Are the trips safe?
Student leaders work with the faculty advisor to create a safe, educational and service-oriented itinerary and curriculum for the trip. All travel comes with a level of risk that students should be aware of. Students should research their destination and take all safety precautions necessary.
Why are Alternative Breaks alcohol-free?
Alternative Breaks were founded as an alternative to the typical spring break experience. Alcohol affects group dynamics, participant safety, the local community, the University, and the national alternative break student movement. As members of Break Away, we adhere to the 8 Quality Components, including alcohol-free breaks.
What do we eat and where do we sleep?
Accommodations are either provided by the host site or determined by the trip leaders. Possibilities include staying in tents, a church, a cabin, or in the actual service organization/volunteer center. Food is also determined by each trip. Some sites provide meals, either for free or low-cost. Other trips have to buy and prepare all of their meals.
What is the typical schedule for an HAB trip?
HAB is a service trip and participants will be volunteering almost every day (8:00 am-4:30 pm). The schedule will vary depending on the trip and the student leader. It is also typical to have team meetings and/or reflection sessions daily in addition to the scheduled service work. Every trip leader tries to allow time for sightseeing, exploring, and may plan small field trips. However, the main focus is service, and the majority of the time will be spent volunteering.
How can I be a trip leader?
You must be a past participant or have equivalent experience and fill out an application which is available in April on the main page of this site.