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What is the Marywood Alternative Break Program?

Marywood’s Alternative Break program consists of weekend, week, and two-week long trips to various locations throughout the world during Fall, Spring and Summer breaks. Most trips are coordinated with faith-based, not-for-profit organizations that rely on volunteers to respond to various needs in their communities. The intent of these trips is to allow students to participate in a community service  experience with a program that responds to some of the most pressing needs of underserved people in our world. This opportunity intends to help students gain a better understanding of injustices and poverty in our world, as well as foster a desire to work towards change, justice, peace, and compassion for all in light of Catholic Social Teaching.

Why should I apply?

Marywood’s Alternative Break program is a great opportunity to learn and experience, first hand, the social and/or environmental issues facing various communities around the world. It is also a wonderful opportunity to meet other students who have the same interests as you!

Who can apply?

All University-affiliated students (graduate and undergraduate) are invited to apply.

How do I apply? When are applications available?

Applications will be available at the Student Activities Fair in the Fireplace Lounge at the beginning of the Fall Semester. Applications will also be available in the Campus Ministry Office and on the website.

To apply simply fill out the application and obtain all of the required recommendations. Submit your application and recommendations to the Campus Ministry Office.

How do interviews work?

Applicants will be contacted for interviews after their application has been reviewed for completion. Students will be interviewed by the Alternative Break staff and will be reviewed based on the students ability to display a strong interest in the issue and the service site, ability to work in cooperative group settings and are committed to participating fully in the Alternative Break experience, including, pre-, during-, and post-break activities as well as fundraising.

I’ve already participated in an Alternative Break experience, can I go again?

Absolutely! Anyone that has participated in a past Alternative Break experience is welcome to return as a participant. Past participants are also eligible to become a student leader in the program. To become a student leader, please fill out the student leader application and submit it to Campus Ministry.

How many people are selected to go on each trip?

The number of participants for each trip varies.

How much does an Alternative Break trip cost?

Our goal is to keep costs down and make the Alternative Break experience possible for all students that are interested. Costs differ depending on the trip experience you are selected for. This will be dependent on the location and cost of transportation, food, etc. All participants will be required to pay a $150 non-refundable deposit when joining the program. For more detailed information about specific trip costs, see the Service Trip descriptions page.

**If you have questions or concerns in regards to trip costs, please do not hesitate to contact us. Do not let costs keep you from participating in this life-changing experience!

When do the trips occur?

The Service Trip dates and details are located on our website.

What is the time commitment like prior to the Alternative Break trip?

Participants can expect bi-weekly planning and educational meetings during the fall and spring semester. Each meeting will be about 2 hours in length and will generally occur on Sunday afternoons/evenings. Additionally, each participant is required to reach their fundraising goal before
their trip.

How are the service locations chosen?

Most sites are chosen based on the research done by the Campus Ministry office. Much of their research comes from contacting multiple organizations and seeing which is a fit for our program. However, if you have a site in mind for one of our programs, please do not hesitate to contact us at or 570-961-4723.

What are the requirements to be a participant?

After Campus Ministry receives your application, we will be contacting potential participants for a brief interview. Participants will then be notified in regards to which trip they have selected for. If one is chosen to participate in an Alternative Break trip, they must attend and participate in all pre-trip meetings as well as participate in fundraising activities to meet your individual fundraising goal.

How will we get there?

Groups will travel in University vehicles if site is within driving distance. Locations that are not within driving distance will travel via air, and use rental cars as necessary to travel around their service sites

Where do we stay?

Most groups find housing on-site, but others may stay at nearby churches or service organizations. Housing is usually simple, so you may need to bring along sleeping bags, towels, etc.

What will I be eating throughout the week?

All meals are included in the week long program. Some meals will be provided by the organization you are serving with, some meals will be prepared by you and your group members. Allergies, dietary, and medical information is requested from each participant so we can ensure everyone is taken care of when planning meals.

Are Alternative Break trips safe?

Yes. Every year the safety of each trip is considered. Nevertheless, there are always risks with travel.

Who may I contact if I have more specific questions?

For any additional information please contact, call 570-961-4723, or visit the Campus Ministry office in the Swartz Center for Spiritual Life.