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Alternative Breaks

2023 Fall Semester Experiences

Weekend Experiences: Friday, 10/6 to Sunday, 10/8

Weeklong Experiences: Sunday, 10/8 to Saturday, 10/14

The Alternative Breaks fall selection process is application based program. The Admin Team and EBoard will evaluate applications based on participants' willingness to learn and their ability to self-reflect. The applications closes on Thursday, August 31st at 11:59pm.

All break costs are all-inclusive and covers lodging, transportation, food, and community engagement experiences. AB Discounts are available to all participants based on financial need. 

Fall Participant Application

Break Discount Application

Fall Weekend Experiences (Friday, Oct. 6th - Sunday, Oct. 8th)

About this Experience

Since the beginning of the human species, humans have heavily depended on animals to survive. From protecting our environment to being great companions, animals prove time and time again that they are sentient beings capable of experiencing pain, joy, and a range of emotions. Therefore, we must learn to respect them and to protect them, as they play an important role in our lives.  

Animal advocacy plays a pivotal role in safeguarding the rights and welfare of animals. During this Alt Break, participants will learn how to advocate for animals by working with community partners and working in close contact with animals. In this experience, participants will also discuss and understand the roots of animal cruelty, exploitation, neglect, and how we can combat them. We hope for participants to understand their crucial role in animal advocacy and leave with awareness, respect, and inspiration to spark collective and individual action. 

By embracing animal advocacy, we embrace our responsibility to protect and respect all sentient beings, acknowledging that they too deserve to live free from suffering and harm.  

Cost: $150.00

Dates: Friday, Oct. 6th to Sunday, Oct. 8th



Fall Weeklong Experiences (Sunday, Oct. 8th - Saturday, Oct. 14th)

About this Experience

Food insecurity is a prevalent issue rooted in various systemic injustices. Discrepancies exist in each portion of the food system; how it’s produced, how it’s sold, and who ultimately eats it. It is crucial to understand how these discrepancies within the food system affect different marginalized groups and what is being done to address this systematic issue.  Access to nutritious and affordable food is a human right. This break will focus on understanding what barriers there are to the food system in each section, and what is being done within the community to address this injustice. We will unlearn our own biases when it comes to food access/consumption, as well as understand how food injustice harms community members and what we can do to reduce harm.    

Cost: $535.00

Dates: Sunday, Oct. 8th to Saturday, Oct. 14th

About this Experience

We strongly believe that access to healthcare is a basic human right that should be ensured for every individual in the United States, regardless of their immigration status, disability, gender identity, income level, or geographic location.  

During this alternative break, our objectives are: 

  1. Gaining a comprehensive understanding of the social, structural, and systemic factors contributing to health inequities. These factors often affect vulnerable populations from lower socioeconomic backgrounds who are frequently uninsured or underinsured.
  2. Recognizing the significance of incorporating cultural competencies into professional practice and research. This includes addressing the historical impact of racist, homophobic, and sexist policies that have perpetuated health disparities and resulted in disproportionately high mortality rates among minority communities. We will advocate for equitable, affordable, and culturally competent healthcare solutions by engaging with local organizations focused on community well-being. 

Through this break, we aim to gain a deeper understanding of our healthcare system and actively contribute towards addressing the inequalities we observe or personally encounter. We firmly believe that by prioritizing the well-being of others and taking tangible actions to improve the health outcomes of all individuals, we can ensure a healthier society for everyone by working alongside community organizations in Denver, Seattle.  

Cost: $535.00

Dates: Sunday, Oct. 8th to Saturday, Oct. 14th

About this Experience

Disabled individuals are disproportionately discriminated against and face injustice every single day. This Alternative Break will analyze the help us understand how ableism is ingrained into our society, how ableism intersects with other forms of oppression, and how to contribute to a just world for disabled people. Everyone has a unique experience with disability and the way that ableism may impact them so we will examine multiple experiences during the break. On this break, we will be working alongside community partners that will help us unlearn negative stereotypes/attitudes about disabled and work to mitigate the harms of ableism. 

Cost: $535.00

Dates: Sunday, Oct. 8th to Saturday, Oct. 14th

About this Experience

The environment interacts with and affects every single one of us in different ways. With the growing consequences of climate change, our relationship with the environment evolves on different levels with every passing minute. This break will explore the unique intersection of nature with health, culture, and the arts on an individual and societal level. With an attitude of cultural humility, further analysis of the systemic environmental injustices will be touched upon to further one’s journey in understanding their role in the environment. As a break grounded in nature, every individual is afforded the unique opportunity to reflect on their path in justice work with respect to their own complex identity and culture. Through integrative experiences with multiple diverse environmental organizations, participants can explore the modern ideals of environmental stewardship in various mediums. 

This is a weeklong camping trip at the University of Utah's Bonderman Station Educational User Campground. While there will be hot showers and flush toilets you should determine if this trip is right for you by visiting their website. 

Cost: $350.00

Dates: Monday, Oct. 9th to Friday, Oct. 13th

About this Experience

We see that organizations are currently in place to maintain the status quo and are currently failing our Black community. Namely our Black students.

Operation S.U.C.C.E.S.S. is a research based experience created to prepare leaders to change and create organizations that are equitable to encourage better systems and foundations for the Black community. In this experience, the Operation S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Fellows of the Black Cultural Center will complete a case study of the African American Student Services, the Black Cultural Center at the University of New Mexico, and New Mexico's HB 43 - the Black Education Act. Through this experience we will conduct research helping the 2 universities see and recognize the differences between a PWI (Predominately White Institute) and a HSI (Hispanic Serving Institute), while grasping the early effects of the Black Education Act that went into law July 1, 2022. Through our partnership with UNM, we will work to: 1.) Gain a better understanding of how to navigate institutions through policy engagement, 2.) Improve confidence and ability to take part in important and meaningful conversations about race, and 3.) Build a foundational understanding in what can be done to influence institutional, local, and state Education Systems. Through this experience we will develop leaders that are ethical and justice oriented through a broader understanding of the inequalities faced in a larger community and what can be done next.

This experience is only open to Operation S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Fellows. 

Dates: Wednesday, Oct. 11th to Saturday, Oct. 14th


Meet the Site Leaders & Staff Partners


Participant Information

The Alternative Breaks fall selection process is application based only (not first-come, first-served). The deadline to apply for Fall ABs is Wednesday, August 30th, 2023 at 11:59pm.  Info session attendance is not required but encouraged. Students should apply even if they cannot attend an information session.

INFO SESSIONS - Find out more about the program and meet this year's student leaders

These are the expectations to which the Bennion Center holds all of its Alternative Breaks participants. Failure to adhere the Alternative Breaks and University of Utah policies will result in expulsion from the program and forfeiture of deposit and/or entire break cost.

All participants are expected to:

  • Attend a Justice Workshop in preparation for their AB experience (approximately 1.5 hours)
  • Attend all pre-departure meetings and other break activities and trainings (approximately 8 hours)
  • Provide policy information for any personal medical insurance they will have for the duration of their break in the event of a medical emergency. Medical insurance is not a requirement to participate in Alternative Breaks; a secondary group insurance is purchased to cover those who do not have medical insurance.
  • Be financially responsible for any incidental personal expenses incurred during the experience (i.e. souvenirs)
  • Participate in all break activities including work/service projects, team-building exercises, and other activities as determined by group leaders
  • Abide by all University of Utah policies and procedures as they apply to the Alternative Breaks experience
  • Remain alcohol- and drug-free from date of departure until time of return
  • Participate in a post-break Reorientation event on Friday, October 27th from 4:00-6:00 pm (loction TBA).

Applicants will be notified whether or not they have been selected by Wednesday, September 6th. At this time, applicants who have been selected will have until Friday, September 8th to reserve their spot with a non-refundable down payment. Payment method will be available online. Failure to place a down payment will result in forfeiture of your spot. 

Payment Plans: Special arrangements may be made concerning a payment plan for the down payment/total payment. Please contact Ann Lopez for more information.

Total costs must be paid by Sunday, September 24th.

If you cancel your reservation on an experience after Sunday, September 24th. you are responsible for the entire cost of the experience. Non-compliance is subject to a hold being placed on your University records.

Expenses covered by your payment include all community engagement activities, transportation, meals, and lodging throughout the experience.

Break Discounts to subsidize the cost of the AB experience are available to students with a financial need. All participants are welcome to apply if experiencing a financial need. Break Discount applications will be made available upon being offered a trip spot and are due on TBD date.

For any questions or concerns please contactAnn Lopez 



Friday, July 31st


Wednesday, August 30st

Wednesday, September 6th

Friday, September 8th

Wedneday, September 24th

Friday, October 6th - Sunday, October 8th

Sunday, October 8th - Saturday, October 14th

Friday, October 27th


Participant & Discount Applications open online for all Fall experiences


Applications close

Notification of participant status

Non-refundable Down Payment & AB Participant Agreement is due

Final Payments due

Weekend Fall ABs

Weeklong AB Lite


Fall Reorientation Event (4:00-6:00pm, location TBA)


Please contact Grace Hymel with any questions. 

Last Updated: 8/30/23