Community Service

Hab logo 2013

*Come visit us at this year's Involvement Fair on Sunday, August 24, 2014 from 2:30-4:30 pm in the Holmes Student Center- Art Gallery Lounge for more information on this year's trips!*

Northern Illinois University's Huskie Alternative Breaks (HAB) program has been sending students to participate in community service throughout the United States since its founding in 2009, when compassionate Huskies joined together to provide their assistance in the wake of Hurricane Ike in Galveston, Texas. HAB strives to raise awareness and educate students about social issues by providing an opportunity for alternative breaks that will inspire them to become active members of society and leaders in their communities.

This unique service program at NIU provides students and faculty the opportunity to evaluate current social issues and seek ways to continually change the world.

What is an Alternative Break?

An alternative break is a trip where a group of college students engage in volunteer service, typically for a week. Each trip has a focus on a particular social issue, such as (but not limited to) poverty, education reform, refugee resettlement, and the environment. Students learn about the social issues and then perform week-long projects with non-profit organizations.

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

FUNdraising Opportunities:

It is HAB’s goal to have both fund-raising events for each individual trip as well as large program-wide fund-raisers in order to make these trips affordable for participants. The Huskie Alternative Breaks program hosts program-wide fund-raisers to assist in lowering trip costs. These fund-raisers include bake sales, Carson Pirie-Scott Community Day sales, Six Flags: Coasters for a Cause, and working with local businesses such as Culvers.

HAB News:

  • HAB applications for Spring Break 2015 will be available beginning late August 2014! More information on this year's trips and information sessions coming soon!
  • What is a Site Leader?  

The success of each HAB excursion depends heavily upon the quality of its leaders. Site Leaders are responsible for some of the most important tasks in the HAB program which include working with community organizations to develop volunteer project sites and ensuring that arrangements are made for transportation, housing, and food. A Site Leader also guides his/her team through educational, team-building, and reflection activities pertaining to the team’s chosen social justice issue leading up to, during, and after the trip. Site Leaders will also be involved in organizing the orientation and re-orientation reflection sessions before and after the trip. In this position, you will gain and hone many skills including delegation, conflict management, project planning, and time management.

We are no longer accepting appliciations for Site Leaders for the 2014-2015 school year. Applications to be a Site Leader for Huskie Alternative Breaks are usually made available at the beginning of April each year. Applications for Site Leaders for the 2014 - 2015 has passed. If you have any questions, please e-mail