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Alternative Breaks

UPDATE: We are planning to return in Spring 2023! Please subscribe to our newsletter for more information as it becomes available. 

For additional questions regarding the Alternative Break program contact asb@usc.edu.

The Volunteer Center’s Alternative Breaks (AB) program cultivates a unique opportunity for students and staff/faculty advisors to engage in service learning and volunteerism in communities outside of the Los Angeles area. These service learning trips help participants make tangible connections between what they learn in the classroom and what they will encounter once they have jobs and experiences outside the university. In addition, these trips allow USC  to create valuable, long-lasting relationships in the communities in which we work.

The Volunteer Center has offered USC students the opportunity to explore numerous issues across the U.S. since 1992, when we began to take students to the Navajo Nation in Utah. Since then, we have built long-lasting partnerships with governmental, non-profit and community organizations throughout the country. The opportunity to travel while engaging in community service continues to be an important element of the unique USC experience. Every year, the locations of the trips changes based on student interest, community need, and our budget. You can see which service trips we have hosted in past years below.

Alternative Break Trips for the ResEd Experience The Volunteer Center and Residential Education are partnering to offer the Alternative Breaks as part of the ResEd Experience to the residents of several of its residential colleges. We piloted this partnership in 2017-2018 with AWB Hurricane Relief and ASB Utah, and we hope to offer more opportunities every year. USC Village residents may apply to the ResEd Experience trip belonging to their respective ResEd college and/or to the AB trips open to everyone. ResEd trips are free for residents of that college, but – once you accept – there is a cancellation fee if you drop from the trip. 

USC has suspended study abroad and travel programs as a result COVID-19 epidemic. The Volunteer Center will not host Alternative Break programs in 2020-2022. Suspending our programs until it is safer to travel domestically and internationally eliminates the potential challenges that would arise as a result of last-minute program cancellations, unexpected travel restrictions, housing constraints, exposure to other strains of the virus and more. However, we plan to bring ASB back in Spring 2023!

Please sign up for our newsletter for updates about Alternative Breaks for Spring! 

You can read about our most recent and upcoming trips below.

Financial Assistance for Trips

So you want to travel on an alternative service break but you’re not sure if you can afford the entire cost of your trip right now? The Volunteer Center wants its Alternative Breaks Program to be as accessible as possible to all USC students.

Residential Education Trips

The Volunteer Center and Residential Education are partnering to offer the Alternative Breaks as part of the ResEd Experience to the residents of several of its residential colleges.

Past Trips

The opportunity to travel while engaging in community service continues to be an important element of the unique USC experience.