Past Trips and FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions
Trips are sent during winter and spring breaks of the academic year as well as various weekends throughout the fall and spring semester.
During the 2019-2020 academic years, trip dates are as follows:
December 14-21, 2019 [1 trip]
January 18-25, 2020 [3 trips]
March 14-21, 2020 [5 trips]
There are two undergraduate students who are site leaders for the trips. All site leaders have been on a trip before and have gone through extensive training based on training materials available through the national organization, Break Away. There is also a graduate student, called a trip advisor, that goes on every trip for an extra measure of security for the trip, should the site leaders get 'stuck.'
Community service projects during trips depend on the needs of the community partner organization. Common projects include cleaning, organizing, and data input. Other trips have demolished buildings, helped rebuild housing, removed invasive plants, cooked and served meals, made products for the community partner to sell, and interacted with individuals that use services at a community organization. We do our best to meet the specific needs of community partners, and sometimes that means doing behind the scenes work so full-time staff members are able to do more meaningful work on the front end. It is important to realize that even though you may not be doing the exciting work, you are making a difference!
Service projects usually take place all day (9am-5pm), and then there may be free time and/or time for site seeing in the evening hours. Reflection, a critical component of an alternative break, takes place in the evening as well. Typically, because of community partner organization schedules, there may be one full day available for site seeing (usually Sunday) in the area.
Yes, trip fees are determined by the length of the trip and costs associated with travel, lodging, and meals. Therefore, trip fees change from trip to trip. All of our winter and spring trips will cost $220. This fee includes transportation, lodging, and meals for 7 days. Our weekend breaks cost $40 and the entire payment is due at the time of sign-up.
Please do not let the trip fee deter you from applying for a BG Alternative Break trip. We believe in the power of fundraising, and we will be implementing fundraising goals to help reduce the cost of the trip for all participants. Participants may also apply for the bGAB Assistance Program which provides funds for students that demonstrate financial need.
Sign-ups are on a "first-come-first-serve" basis. You can sign up and secure your spot by stopping by the Center for Public Impact in University Hall 100 and submitting your non-refundable deposit.
Sign-ups for winter break trips open September 2; sign-ups for spring break trips open October 28.
Trips are not planned on the destination, but rather on the social justice issue that the bGAB leadership team chooses to focus on. We strive to build meaningful and long-lasting partnerships with community partners and therefore go back to many places to which we have traveled to in the past, but we are also on the lookout to build relationships with new community partners.
Please see more detailed information about past trips below.
Alternative Break Trips grow every individual differently, however, there are some common benefits.
- Gain a Different Perspective: Immerse yourself in and learn about a new culture and experience different lifestyles - in return, many students gain a new or different perspective on life.
- Impact Relevant Social Issues: Learn about current events through your trip's social issue and engage with communities directly affected.
- Meet New People: Meet new peers and you’ll often leave with a whole group of close friends since you share a common desire for service and social justice.
- Learn New Skills: Team building, communication, and problem-solving are common skills learned on trips, but depending on your trip's focus, you will leave with relevant skills and knowledge to land your future dream job.
- Personal Growth: AB trips allow us to step outside of our comfort zone and reevaluate our life choices, goals, and general outlook on life.
- It was an amazing yet challenging experience and I’ve grown a lot
- Fantastic opportunity to grow, connect, and discover new things about yourself and the world
- It’s rewarding and enriching. You see the hard work you put in turn into a positive result/outcome. Plus, you make lasting friendships
- The mixture of a passionate community, beautiful environment, and important work created the best week of my life on the bGAB trip!
- bGAB is a life-changing experience in which one learned more about the community, social issues, themselves, and fellow BGSU students. It is a “week on, not a week off,” of school.
- This trip is not only a service trip; it is about creating a sense of community not only with other BG students you wouldn’t necessarily come in contact with, but with the community partner. It also is a great way to learn about yourself, social issues, and providing meaningful service.
- The experiences you’ll have are amazing and it’s a great way to learn more about social justice issues and meet other awesome people
- This week was one of the best I’ve ever had – the trip was so rewarding, I learned a lot and had a ton of fun, and met an amazing group of people. This was way better than any other spring break trip.
- A new analysis of service and working with all identities/experience within your circles
- I learned how to open my eyes to new experiences and not judge people right away
- Overcoming any uncomfortableness and opening myself up more within a group of people
- Knowledge and experience with invasive species and a newfound passion for the intersectionality of social issues
- I feel more inclined to open up and share experiences with people even though we have different backgrounds
- A proclivity for trying new things and being adaptive
- Being less judgmental, being more grateful for the things I have
- I learned a lot about how to learn from multiple perspectives on an issue and that there is always more to learn!
- Seeing growth within myself, personality-wise; making incredible friends; and I did something positive to help out people and the community
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina flooded 80 percent of New Orleans and displaced hundreds of thousands of families. Thirteen years later, thousands of homes are still waiting to be rebuilt. Participants will assist in the long-term recovery efforts to bring families back to the New Orleans community.
Participants assist Renewing Homes in its mission to accomplish, at no cost to the homeowner, critical home repairs and modifications for elderly, disadvantaged and disabled homeowners. This enables individuals to live in their homes with dignity in a safe, warm, dry, and accessible environment.
For many low-income communities, good jobs and healthy food are in short supply. Participants will work with Heartland Alliance's Chicago Farmwork Program, which grows and distributes local produce to those who need it most while supporting people overcoming barriers to employment.
Participants will work with Mid Atlantic Border Collie Rescue (MABCR), a haven for dogs that have been discarded, neglected, abandoned or stray. This non-profit organization cares for, trains and rehabilitates dogs with the goal of placing them into loving and caring homes
Help alleviate food insecurity in our region via work with Food Gatherers, and Growing Hope in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, Michigan. Food Gatherers' mission is to alleviate hunger and eliminate its causes in the Ann Arbor Community; they operate to serve and provide food to those in need. Growing Hope seeks to empower people to be healthy and to create healthy economies and healthy places in the Ypsilanti community.
Restoring and protecting wetlands in the historic watershed of the Little River, a major tributary of the Wabash River, and engaging with educational opportunities that encourage good stewardship of wetlands and other natural ecosystems.
Working with the Fowler Center, a camp for children, teens, and adults with special physical, cognitive and psychological impairments. The Center works to create a supportive and inclusive environment for their campers that enhances their personal growth and independence.
Participants will be working with three separate community partners including Cass Community Social Services, Auntie Na’s House, and FOCUS: Hope. Throughout the trip participants will learn what it means to put “unity” back in “community” by gaining insight into the story, culture, and people of Detroit.
Woodland Harvest Mountain Farm is a rustic permaculture farmstead that focuses on growing and sustaining all of their own food and energy. The farm offers teaching and learning experiences to honor the earth and create community. Located within the Appalachian Mountains, this farm is completely off the grid and hopes to help participants "connect with nature and grow into stronger community members, ultimately strengthening our communities to live abundantly." This trip will focus on learning ways to better interact with the Earth through more sustainable practices while also learning about community building and environmental stewardship.
The national conversation about refugees as of late has largely been fearful and dehumanizing. A number of travel bans have sought to close the U.S. to refugees entirely, claiming that they bring terrorism. In reality, refugees are fleeing conflict and persecution and are surviving against incredible odds. On this trip, we will join the International Rescue Committee in their resettlement efforts in Richmond, VA, to resettle, employ, integrate, and educate refugees. Participants will work with refugees firsthand, learning their stories and helping them succeed in America.
“Mountains. Foothills. Rivers. Farms. For Nature and People. Forever.” This motto is what the Carolina Mountain Land and Pacolet Area Conservancies in Hendersonville, North Carolina revolve around. Conserving Carolina was made by these two organizations to help conserve the lands and natural resources of the Carolina Mountains. This trip will serve to aid the cause by engaging in service which includes: habitat restoration work, trail work, and a concentrated effort in improving the upkeep of the area.
Schooner Farms, located outside of Weston, Ohio, educates active citizens about sustainability, permaculture, raising freshwater lobsters and building community. This hands-on experience is a partnership between bGAB and the Outdoor Program that helps Schooner Farms prepare for a busy season of growing fresh foods, flowers, and lavender organically.
Graduate Student Trips
Graduate student trips combine structured group academic work sessions with community-based learning experiences. Trip participants join Su Casa Catholic Worker in its mission to create a community of hospitality and healing for families in crisis in the Chicago area. The organization primarily serves Spanish-speaking homeless families in Chicago, many of whom are women and children escaping domestic violence.