Community Service

Hab logo 2013

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 service-learning trip where a group of college students engage in volunteer service. These break trips occur on weekends, during the University's winter and spring breaks and during May interim (International Trips). 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 through trainings beforehand and then perform projects with non-profit organizations based on the social issue during that break trip.

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 fundraising events for each individual trip as well as large program-wide fundraisers in order to make these trips affordable for participants. The Huskie Alternative Breaks program hosts program-wide fundraisers to assist in lowering trip costs. Some examples of fundraising events include concession sales, Carson Community Day sales, and working with local businesses such as Culver's.


  • Inflatable 5K - Saturday, September 19th - Register today to participate in a 5K obstacle course! Wind down the summer, raise money for HAB, and release your inner child all in one day! Just enter the code HAB during the checkout process and we will receive $5 per registration. 
  • Coasters for a Cause - October 2nd-4th - Get a scary good deal on Fright Fest Tickets. Enter the code NIUHAB to get tickets for ONLY $33 (that's about a $35 discount)! *Tickets must be used on October 2nd-4th* 
  • Silent Auction - Tuesday, November 17th - Do you have items you or your company would like to donate for the HAB Silent Auction? Email today to provide information about your contribution! Your donation will help keep the cost of the trips affordable for students. 

HAB News:

  • Site Leaders for the 2015-2016 year have been selected. Congratulations to our new leaders and welcome to HAB!
    • For more information on the role of an HAB Site Leader click here.
  • Informational Session dates announced! Come learn more about the HAB program and the social issues we are focusing on this year.
    • Wednesday, September 9: 3pm
    • Tuesday, September 15: 11am 
    • Thursday, September 24: 5pm
  • COMING THIS FALL: The HAB Rummage Sale Fundraiser! 
    • Do you have household items or clothes that you no longer need and/or use that are still in good condition? Consider donating those items to HAB for our Rummage Sale! Donations can be dropped off at the Student Involvement and Leadership Development office in CLB 150.  Proceeds from the sale will benefit HAB and help keep the costs of the trips low for students.