Alternative Breaks

Alternative Break trips provide a unique opportunity for students to participate in an intensive public service experience while increasing their understanding of significant social and environmental problems.

Missed our Info Session? No worries, the slides can be found here as well as the FAQ's document. Have questions or want some guidance on proposing your trip? Set up a meeting with Lynn Nguyen (

There are two components of a complete trip proposal application: 1. an individual leader application 2. a joint trip proposal application. Both applications are due Monday, May 1st. Completed applications will be reviewed by a selection committee composed of McKeen staff, students, and faculty.

Note: Only domestic trips and trips focused along the U.S./Mexico border will be considered this year with no exceptions for international trips. Trip costs are covered for all leaders, regardless of aid status. 

How Bowdoin AB Works

Alternative Break trips are organized and led by students who want to provide an intensive learning through service experience. AB leaders are responsible for all aspects of the alternative spring break trip, including recruiting participants, trip logistics, coordinating with the host site, and leading the actual trip.

Leader Selection

AB proposals and leader applications are reviewed each spring for the following year by a committee of students, faculty, and McKeen Center staff. Those leaders whose trips are selected receive support and training from the McKeen Center to plan and implement their AB trips.

Leaders' Seminar

During the fall semester, ASB leaders participate in the Leaders' Seminar, a 10-week course facilitated by the staff of the McKeen Center. This seminar prepares leaders in how to organize and lead their trips and to help student participants examine the political, social, cultural, and economic aspects of their service and the communities in which they will be living. Through this seminar, leaders develop their own seminar which they lead for their trip participants in the spring.

Participants' Seminar

Prior to the trips, participants attend weekly pre-service meetings to prepare them for their service experience. These meetings include background and cultural information about the site, educational visits from Bowdoin professors, reading assignments, film viewing, fundraising, and team-building activities.

During and After the Trip

During the trip, students participate in meaningful service activities, daily reflective sessions, and evening group activities. After returning to campus, students work together to educate the larger Bowdoin community about their issue area and experience.