Become a Leader

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


Applications for the 2019-2020 Site Leader team are now open! If you have participated in an Alternative Breaks experience, you are eligible to apply to be a Site Leader for a Fall 2019 or Spring 2020 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 Justin Swanger to begin the process of submitting an Alternative Breaks Proposal. As a program, we're particularly interested in experiences centered around the topics of ability and access, indigenous rights, and labor. Of course, we're excited to meet student passion wherever it lies!

Please note: while the Alternative Breaks program is accepting applications for prospective Site Leaders until Nov. 16, 2018, the program will not be conducting interviews for 2019-2020 Site Leaders until the close of the second application period (which will open in January 2019). Applicants will receive confirmation when their application is received, and will be contacted in March of 2019 to schedule an interview for their desired position(s).

Any questions can be directed to Justin Swanger, Alternative Breaks Coordinator.

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 open!

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 are found here and will close on November 16 (applications will reopen in January of 2019). Applicants interested in proposing a new Alternative Break experience are encouraged to do so!


Please contact Justin 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

Commitment: (6-7 month commitment)

    • Group meetings twice a month with Alternative Breaks staff and students (3 hrs a month)
    • Weekly meeting with student site leader (1/2 hr a week, 1 hour every other week)
    • Pre-trip meeting attendance with participants prior to departure (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 July 26, 2019.

Staff/Faculty Partner Application

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

Staff Partner Letter of Support

Applications need to be submitted to or Union, Rm 101 attn. Justin Swanger.

Please email  Justin Swanger for application questions.

We depend on our University of Utah students to 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 a site and topic, fill out the trip proposal application below!  New trips 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"), and "Addiction" in Las Vegas, NV (now called "Youth Empowerment").  

Fill out the trip proposal below and return to Justin Swanger  New trip proposals for the 2019-2020 year are due in January 2019.

Trip Proposal Application

Last Updated: 1/18/19