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Become a Leader

There are many opportunities for University of Utah students, staff, and faculty members to become involved in Alternative Breaks. We depend strongly on volunteer leadership to sustain the program, build the team, and create quality Alternative Breaks experiences.


Applications for the 2019-2020 Site Leader team are closed. Applications for Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 Site Leaders will open in February of 2020 for students who will have participated in an Alternative Breaks experience. A more detailed description of the position can be found below and within the Bennion Center's Student Leader Application.

Have an idea and passion for an Alternative Breaks experience that we don't yet offer? The Alternative Breaks program is always looking to develop new, diverse opportunities for students to engage in Justice-based learning. Please email J Swanger to begin the process of submitting an Alternative Breaks Proposal. As a program, we're particularly interested in introducing experiences centered around the topics of ability and access, criminal justice, and labor and racial discrimination. Of course, we're excited to meet student passion wherever it lies!


Applications to serve as a Fall 2019 or Spring 2020 Alternative Breaks Staff/Faculty Partner are now open! If you're interested in joining our program, receiving a unique mentorship and community-engaged experience on campus, and exploring a topic of Justice you're passionate about, consider applying to become a part of our 2019-2020 Leadership Team. A more detailed outline of the benefits, responsibilities, and expectations of AB Staff/Faculty Partners, along with a link to the application and other resources, can be found below.

Please note: Applicants are encouraged to carefully consider the timelines of involvement for each Alternative Break cycle (fall/spring) in accordance with their own personal and professional schedules. Please be advised that only applicants who express interest in serving as a Fall 2019 Staff/Faculty Partner will be contacted for an interview this semester. Those who express interest in Spring 2020 will be contacted toward the end of the summer semester.

Any questions can be directed to J Swanger, Alternative Breaks Program Manager.

Join us as a Site Leader!

If you have participated in an Alternative Breaks experience, you are eligible to apply for a Site Leader position!

Spend a year planning a volunteer trip for ten to sixteen other students around a topic you're passionate about. Each Site Leader is paired with a Staff Partner to support them through the planning process as they learn skills such as conflict resolution, community development theory, and inclusion practices. Site Leaders receive an opportunity to develop their leadership skills and explore the role of Justice in community both locally and nonlocally. 

Time Commitment: 5-10 hours a week

What we look for in our Site Leaders

  • Positive, enthusiastic, and encouraging attitudes
  • Mature, responsible, inclusive, passionate individuals
  • A willingness to question, explore, and critique the program, their AB experience, concepts of Justice, and themselves
  • Students whose commitments, class schedules, and work arrangements allow them to fully commit to the program and its requirements

How to Apply

Site Leader applications for 2019-2020 Alternative Fall, Spring, and Weekend Break experiences are closed.

Students must have participated in a University of Utah Alternative Breaks experience in the past in order to be an eligible applicant for a Site Leader position.

Applications for 2020-2021 Site Leaders will open in February of 2020. Applicants interested in proposing a new Alternative Break experience are encouraged to do so before this date!


Please contact J Swanger with questions.

What is a Staff/Faculty Partner?

This is a unique, one-on-one mentorship experience for staff or faculty interested in student development.  Staff and faculty are matched with a student based on the likelihood of a productive and meaningful mentorship connection, and support their student throughout the year in planning, executing, and facilitating a community engagement experience for 10-16 other students the week of Fall or Spring Break or over a weekend break.  As this is a serious professional development opportunity, we encourage staff and faculty to have supervisor support for their participation. Supervisors are encouraged to release their staff/faculty with pay for the duration of the experience to participate in this program. 

Benefits of Staff/Faculty Participation

  • One-on-one mentorship experience
  • Meet, network, and connect with other University of Utah staff/faculty who are interested in student development
  • Professional development opportunity and resume builder
  • Recruiting tool for your program/center/college
  • Free travel with students to a volunteer site outside of northern Utah
  • Hands-on learning/volunteer experience around a complex social issue
  • Ongoing training topics include:
    • Social Justice and Diversity facilitation
    • Quality components of an Alternative Break and active citizenship
    • Crisis Management and conflict mediation


(6-7 month commitment)

  • Group meetings twice a month with Alternative Breaks staff and students (3 hrs a month)
  • Weekly or bi-weekly meeting with student Site Leader (minimum 2 hrs a month)
  • Pre-trip meeting attendance with participants prior to departure (minimum 3 hrs total)
  • Mandatory weekend retreat attendance out of state (AFB Retreat May 31st-June 2nd; ASB Retreat Sept. 6-8th)
  • Occasional one-on-one meetings with Alternative Breaks staff as necessary
  • Attendance on trip in its entirety over Fall, Spring, or Weekend Break

Application Materials for Fall Break are due April 19, 2019 and for Spring Break are due August 9, 2019.

Staff/Faculty Partner Application

Staff/Faculty Partner Policies and Guidelines *Please review prior to submitting an application

Staff/Faculty Partner Letter of Support - Signed by Vice President Barb Snyder, Student Affairs

Staff/Faculty Partner Letter of Support - Signed by Senior Vice President Dan Reed, Academic Affairs


Please contact  J Swanger with questions.

We depend on our University of Utah students' leadership and creativity to take us to the next level.  If you are a student who has been on an Alternative Break trip and have a new idea for an Alternative Breaks experience, please fill out the proposal application below!  New experiences created through this process include, but are not limited to: "Marine Conservation" in Santa Cruz, CA; "Women and Poverty" in Denver, CO (now called "Defeminizing Poverty"); "Holistic Health" in Vancouver, CA (now called "Community Health"); "Addiction" in Las Vegas, NV (now called "Youth Empowerment"); and "Indigeneity" in the Colorado Plateau.   

Fill out the trip proposal form below and return it to J Swanger. Proposals for new Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 experiences are due by February 3, 2020.

Though it should not sway a decision regarding your application, our program is interested in developing and supporting experiences related to, among other topics, ability and disability (both seen and unseen), racial justice, and criminal justice.

Propose a New Alternative Breaks Experience

Last Updated: 9/17/19