Alternative Break Trips 2017-2018

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 here.

Click below to read a trip’s description or scroll down to learn about all the trips we are hosting:



The Application for Alternative Breaks has been extended on a rolling basis!
Apply on or before November 1st! 

Trips will close their applications as soon as their spots are filled and their waitlists are full so apply as soon as possible! There will not be any further extensions after Nov 1st.
Don’t wait until the last day! 


Trip Title: “Alternative Winter Break: Hurricane Harvey Relief”
To Apply Click Here: Alternative Break Application 
Deadline: Apply by Nov 1, 2017 (rolling basis)
Trip Dates: Approximately December 14, 2017 – December 20, 2017

The southern coast of Texas and other surrounding states were devastated by Hurricane Harvey this August. According to CNN, Harvey dumped an estimated 27 trillion gallons of rain over Texas and Louisiana over the course of six days and set a record for the most rainfall from a tropical cyclone in the US – 51 inches of rain.

This winter break, spend a few days helping local families rebuild their homes before the holidays. We are partnering with All Hands Volunteers to assist their relief efforts in Aransas Pass, Texas. Volunteers will be taught basic demolition and construction skills such as repainting, removing debris, and replacing floors. In addition to this service project, students will explore cultural locations, local food, and take part in activities in the Southern Gulf of Texas in cities such as Corpus Christi, San Antonio, and/or Houston. This trip is co-sponsored by Bohnett and Nemirovsky Residential Colleges! All USC students are welcome to apply!

If you have any more questions about AWB Hurricane Harvey please email

Approximate Cost: $450-500 USD per participant**

**The approximate cost above includes only a one-way flight to Corpus Christi, Texas since this trip ends on the 20th. This will allow students to separately book their flights home for the holidays if they do not wish to return to LAX. Staff will assist all students with coordinating their return flights.

Info Sessions for AWB Hurricane Harvey: 
Wednesday 10/25 @ 4:00pm  Click to RSVP  in SKS 410  
Monday 10/30       @ 4:00pm  Click to RSVP  in SKS 410  


Trip Title: “Decolonizing Indigenous Narratives: Navajo Cultural Preservation and Advocacy”
To Apply Click Here: Alternative Spring Break Application 
Deadline: Apply by Nov 1, 2017 (on rolling basis, early submissions strongly encouraged)
Trip Dates: Approximately March 10, 2018-March 17, 2018

The Navajo Nation is the largest Native American Reservation in the United States and the cultural home to the Navajo people, marked with beautiful sandstone mesas, towering buttes, colorful canyons, and dramatic desert scenery.  The Navajo people share rich cultural traditions and are well known for their contributions to the world at large, including their beautiful artwork and the role of the Navajo Code Talkers in WWII. However, the Navajo face many social and economic challenges, including maintaining their cultural identity in the face of globalization, an unemployment rate of 42%, and political disenfranchisement.

Since 1991, Alternative Spring Break Navajo Nation has enhanced the lives of both students and the communities they serve through its focus on cultural exchange. During this trip, students will travel to Thoreau, New Mexico and partner with St. Bonaventure Indian Mission and School and Dig Deep on a variety of service projects, including building water cisterns for homes without running water and tutoring Navajo children. In addition to service projects, students will live on-site at the mission and have the opportunity to participate in cultural and recreational activities such as visiting museums and nearby national landmarks, meeting with representatives of the Navajo government, and sampling traditional foods.

If you have any more questions about ASB Navajo Nation please email

Approximate Cost: $650 USD per participant*

Itinerary: Draft of Navajo Nation Daily Schedule

Info Sessions for Navajo: 
Wednesday 10/25 @ 4:00pm  Click to RSVP  in SKS 410  
Monday 10/30       @ 4:00pm  Click to RSVP  in SKS 410  



Trip Title: “Bridging the Gap”
To Apply Click Here: Alternative Spring Break Application
Deadline: Apply by Nov 1, 2017 (on rolling basis, early submissions strongly encouraged)

Trip Dates: Approximately March 10, 2018-March 17, 2018

In more recent years, homelessness in New York City has reached the highest numbers since the Great Depression of the 1930s with approximately 80,600 homeless people sleeping each night in a New York City shelter system. This includes 15,000 families with 23,000 homeless children

This rise in homelessness is sadly often neglected by people and the media.There are multiple ways for people to provide help through social service groups, medical clinics, homeless shelters, soup kitchens, etc. Now here’s your opportunity to serve and provide assistance to the homeless in New York from March 10th-17th, 2018.

Through Alternative Spring Break New York, students will have the opportunity to travel to New York and provide hands-on service and aid to the homeless. By partnering with a non-profit organization, we will be given a chance to lend a helping hand to the community and attempt to make an impact. By assisting those in need, participants will learn more about the rich culture and history of New York. Students will have the opportunity to visit the Statue of Liberty, Central Park, National September 11 Memorial & Museum, and so much more! If you have more questions about ASB New York send an email to

Approximate Cost: $1100 USD* per participant

Info Sessions for New York:
Thursday 9/21 in SKS 410 @ 2:00pm
Thursday 9/28 in SKS 410 @ 2:00pm
Thursday 10/5 in SKS 410 @ 7:00pm 
Wednesday 10/11 in SKS 410 @ 6:00pm




Trip Title: “Conservation Nation – Exploring Sustainable Environmental Practices in Washington ”
To Apply Click Here: Alternative Spring Break Application
Deadline: Apply by Nov 1, 2017 (on rolling basis, early submissions strongly encouraged)

Trip Dates: Approximately March 10, 2018-March 17, 2018

Orcas (2)

“A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt

ASB Orcas Island focuses on exploring sustainable practices that can create a better understanding on preserving our natural environments. USC students will be traveling to Orcas Island, located in northwest Washington and just a short ferry ride away from Seattle. Orcas Island is the largest of the San Juan Island with over 5000 acres of land, and is known for its distinctive natural beauty.

Our service trip provides the opportunity to serve the park rangers by working hands-on to restore the environment within Moran State Park. Past projects have included trail restoration and construction on the scenic Mt. Constitution trail. ASB Orcas Island is an exciting opportunity for students who love the outdoors. Not only will students better the area, but also be able to explore everything the island had to offer. Moran features beautiful trails, lakes, and waterfalls, which participants will get to enjoy on their time off. The island hosts a variety of adventures like kayaking, biking, and hiking that participants can take part in. In the past, participants have said that working and living in such a remote environment “puts the world in perspective.”

Students will spend a week volunteering in Orcas Island at Moran State Park, as well as a one-day stay in Seattle to explore the city. This will allow students to have hands-on and holistic experience with sustainable practices in the state park as well as the city. If you have more questions about ASB Orcas Island send an email to

Find out what the ASB Orcas experience is like! Check out this blog or this blog from ASB Orcas Island participants!  Read about ASB Orcas Island in the local newspaper

Approximate Cost: $750 USD* per participant

Info Sessions for Orcas Island: 
Thursday 9/14 in SKS 410 @ 7:00pm
Thursday 10/5 in SKS 410 @ 7:00pm
Wednesday 10/11 in SKS 410 @ 6:00pm




Trip Title: “Constructing Education: Infrastructural Development of Rural Schools”
To Apply Click Here: CLOSED
Deadline: Apply by October 15, 2017
Trip Dates: Approximately March 10, 2018-March 17, 2018 (will need to depart for LAX on Friday March 9 at 9:00 pm or 10:00 pm)


Guatemala is an exotic and visually inspiring country with huge volcano’s reaching up to 12,000 feet over crystalline lakes and picturesque towns. Once part of the Mayan Empire, Guatemala is a culturally rich and diverse country that is home to over 20 indigenous languages and a population that is comprised of somewhere around 50% Indigenous people who still maintain their style of dress, traditions, language, and culture.

However, in spite of its rich environmental resources, Guatemala remains one of the poorest countries in the world in terms of GDP. Many Guatemalans travel far and wide to work for large landowning corporations and make only enough money to put food on the table. Over 50% of Guatemalan children suffer from malnutrition and Guatemala’s educational system is currently ranked second from the worst among Central American and Caribbean countries. Many children drop out after their first year of school, and there is another mass exodus during the middle school years. Many children lack adequate resources and encouragement on their studies, and families can choose to pull their children out of school to work.

Participants of ASB Guatemala will travel to Retalhuleu, a city in southwestern Guatemala, and work with a local school to construct educational facilities for the children of the community. Students will get to spend time with the children in the mornings working on various activities with them and in the afternoon students will transition to assisting with a construction project. If you have more questions about ASB Guatemala send an email to

Approximate Cost: $1,500 USD* per participant

Itinerary: ASB Guatemala_Itinerary Draft NEW!


Trip Title: “Juvenile Justice Reform & At-Risk Youth”
To Apply Click Here: CLOSED
Deadline: Apply by October 15, 2017
Trip Dates: Approximately March 10, 2018-March 17, 2018

Every year, an estimated 2.1 million under the age of 18 are incarcerated every year, and it is apparent just hours away from campus. At-risk youth in San Francisco is one of the most vulnerable populations in the City. At such a transitional age, they are at risk of not transitioning successfully into adulthood or reaching adulthood at all. They face significant challenges, such as unemployment, homelessness, lack of basic academic and work readiness skills, that often lead to involvement in the justice system.

The incarceration crisis we have in our nation, especially among our young people, is sadly often ignored. We can help in a multitude of ways by listening to the stories of those affected, changing misconstrued narratives, and working with organizations that give at-risk youth the opportunities to pursue a better future. Here’s your opportunity to do so in San Francisco from March 10th-17th, 2018.

Participants of this Alternative Spring Break will have the opportunity to travel to San Francisco, work with at-risk youth, and learn about America’s juvenile justice system. Before leaving, students will have the opportunity to learn about the school to prison pipeline, race and socioeconomic positions that play a role in the history of incarceration among juveniles. This will be done through team meetings and field trips to nonprofits like Homeboy Industries.

While in San Francisco, students will spend mornings partnering with a non-profit organization that aims to give previously incarcerated and at-risk youth artistic and educational opportunities. In the afternoons and evenings, we will explore the rich culture and history of San Francisco and other organizations that do amazing work in the same realm.

If you have more questions about ASB San Francisco or would like to RSVP for an information session send an email to

Approximate Cost: $600 USD* per participant

*AB Trip costs may change slightly in the future. These preliminary estimates are presented for the purposes of helping students decide which trips fit within their budget. Fundraising opportunities are available, for more details visit “Fundraising for AB Trips.”


Follow us on Facebook or subscribe to our Newsletter for updates about ASB 2018. For general questions about the Alternative Spring Break Program, email us at For more information about specific trips, email them directly or RSVP for a trip info session!

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