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.

ASB leader applications for Spring 2025 are live now! Apply via the links below:


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.

Alternative Spring Breaks 2024

Chicago, IL: How We Matter – Women’s Healthcare Inequality
Women’s health inequality is often overlooked especially in the context of race and socioeconomic background. However, in light of our new political landscape it has become more important to look into this issue. Participant on this trip will examine some of the complex factors contributing to women’s healthcare inequality in Chicago. Partnering with abortion organizations, healthcare initiatives, clinics and more, students will gain both knowledge and hands on experiences to better understand how to dismantle systemic inequalities.
Led by Gwen Abbot '26 & Chinwe Bruns '26 

New York, NY: Examining Educational Disparities in NYC
Working closely with community organizations, participants will learn about the educational inequities that permeate the New York City school system. We will visit different types of schools throughout the city and examine the resource disparities between them to explore effective strategies for creating a more equitable educational landscape in New York City.
Led by Natalie Faillace '26 & Zellie Lipman '26 

Immokalee, FL: Cultivating Migrant Communities in Immokalee
What is Community? How do Migrants create and reshape their sense of home in a new community? This Alternative Break trip will explore different aspects of Migrant communities through the lenses of child education, food security, access to healthcare, and labor rights. Through in-depth interactions with migrant groups including children and adults, we will gain a comprehensive understanding of the issues migrant communities face and their resilience in building community.
Led by Jared Lynch '24 & Ereny Morcos '24