Skip to content

Main Navigation

Spring Semester 2022

3 types of different experiences to choose from!

Spring Break Weeklong Experiences: Saturday, 3/5 to Saturday, 3/12

Weekend Experience: Friday, 3/18 to Sunday, 3/20

AB Lite Experience (Free, Local, & No Overnight): Saturday, 3/19 to Sunday, 3/20

The Alternative Breaks fall selection process is application based only (not first-come, first-served as in the past).

Applications for all spring experiences are now closed! 

Check out the different experiences we'll be sending out below along with other information you'll need as a prospective Alt Breaker! 

For students interested in enrolling in Alternative Breaks for credit (BENN2929) during the spring 2022 semester:

Add codes for the course will only be distributed to students who have been offered a spot on a spring AB experience. Please wait until after applications close and offers are made before seeking an add code for the course. If you would like to opt in to AB for Credit or have any questions, please contact Grace Hymel for additional information.

Spring 2022 Alternative Break Experiences


About this Experience

The stigma against individuals with substance abuse disorders is dehumanizing and fails to recognize the underlying illness behind their actions. On this alternative break, we will work towards destigmatizing addiction through active service alongside community partners in Vancouver, Canada. Participants will learn more about the harm reduction model and behavioral health to have a justice-based, human-rights-prioritized mindset when thinking about and engaging with individuals with substance abuse disorders. Students will be able to observe harm reduction in practice and further understand the positive impacts of this model. This experience will focus heavily on the disparities, stigmas, and stereotypes that people battling addiction face to bring light to the fact that these individuals are also human.

Past Participant Reflections

“Insite for me, was by far the most eye opening. They focus on the harm-reduction model when helping drug users in Vancouver. They provide clean needles and other supplies to IV drug users so that they can shoot up safely. This is a concept that I had never heard of until this trip. It deepened my knowledge about stigma and what a person can do to reduce stigma and help drug users.”

“One of my favorite parts of the trip was going on a tour of the Downtown Eastside with a former drug user named Rodney. It was so intriguing to hear his point of view and how he has been affected by the resources and policies we were learning about. It gave a really great contrast between the perspective of the implementers and practicality of the actual resource. I also like that he told us it was our choice to speak out about these issues or continue to ignore them.”

Cost: $500 (cost is all-inclusive and covers lodging, transportation, food, and volunteer experiences).

*Participants on this experience also need to purchase $35 international insurance if they do not have a policy.

Dates: 3/5 to 3/12

About this Experience

Womxn and non-binary folks are disproportionatPhoto of students holding a sign at CrossRoads Urban Centerely affected by poverty and homelessness. Poverty is a dehumanizing experience, in which these individuals are deprived of their rights to shelter, food, transportation, education, and safety. Harmful stigmas often place blame on these folks for their condition in life, which shows that there is truly a lack of empathy when it comes to understanding this topic. Power dynamics and discrimination based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, ability, etc. actively perpetuate poverty and make it difficult for womxn and non-binary folks to break free from it.  During this week-long Alternative Break, participants will collaborate with community partners, have meaningful conversations, and learn how we can begin to dismantle systems of oppression that continue to create poverty. 

Cost: $450

Dates: 3/5 to 3/12

About this Experience

The climate crisis happening on our Earth calls for an immediate reflection on the deep relationship between humans and land. However, the climate crisis in its entirety is extremely broad and can make us feel overwhelmed.

In this experience, we hope to dig into climate issues within a much smaller, tangible scope. Within this scope, we will hyperfocus on the history of indigenous stewardship, the transformation of land/water by human interaction to understand the present state of these climates, and current water conservation projects. We work towards these objectives for mainly three points: (1) a better understanding of nuanced water issues unique to Moab and Salt Lake City, (2) bridging the two destinations as one ecosystem, and (3) how we each can contribute to the harms as well as the working solutions. Learning in this experience will involve many facets: an active dialogue among local organizations/nonprofits, learning about sustainable actions, physical activities in the great outdoors, and personal reflection on water stewardship. After all, water is the essence of life!

Cost: $50 (cost is all-inclusive and covers lodging, transportation, food, and volunteer experiences).

Dates: 3/18 to 3/20

About this Experience

Amidst COVID-19, HIV and AIDS is the unspoken pandemic that continues to ravage marginalized communities. It is far more than just another statistic, death, or pandemic. It is the silent killer formerly hidden under the guise of a disease that seemingly only affected gay men and IV drug users - populations the U.S. deems to be deviant, unwanted, and undesired. This is a painful reflection of the U.S.’s racist and homophobic past. Even today, despite increased access to HIV/AIDS treatment, not much has changed. 

This break is dedicated to understanding the fundamental structural failings of the U.S. healthcare system in addressing HIV/AIDS within its historical context. Participants will learn and unlearn preconceived notions about sex, drug use, and healthcare access/disparities through the utilization of art, harm reduction models, and preventative measures. Let us work in power with our resilient communities to re-humanize those who are living with HIV/AIDS and to liberate our minds from stigmatization.

Past Participant Reflections

“Working at Project Angelfood was very helpful in deepening my knowledge of HIV/AIDS. Prior to volunteering, a coordinator discussed with us the purpose of their organization. She talked about how important it is for someone fighting a life threatening disease to have access to good nutrition. This is something that I never thought about before but is so crucial to their care.”Past Participant Reflections

“I hope to get involved with the Utah AIDS Foundation and find out what unique things they are doing to create more awareness and help those affected by HIV/AIDS.”

Cost: $485 (cost is all-inclusive and covers lodging, transportation, food, and volunteer experiences).

Dates: 3/5 to 3/12

About this Experience

As the rate of those experiencing homelessness rises on a national level, so does the stigma surrounding the people who are experiencing it. On this AB experience, participants will explore the multifaceted issue that is homelessness, and become educated on the root causes of it. They will meaningfully engage with the community of people that are experiencing homelessness and work to erase from their minds the stigma that surrounds them. While on this experience, participants will also work in power with local nonprofits in order to gain a deeper understanding of the work that is being done to bring justice to the individuals and families that are living without a stable home.

Past Participant Reflection

“I’ve never really had too much experience or knowledge about food banks or homelessness. I had prior knowledge about the food system and the ways people are affected by it but I never got to see those effects first hand. This trip provided me with the hands-on experience and knowledge about hunger, homelessness, and poverty that I was lacking.”

Cost: $440 (Cost is all-inclusive and covers lodging, transportation, food, and volunteer experiences).. 

Dates: 3/5 to 3/12

About this Experience

Our food systems are designed to perpetuate existing injustices. These injustices range from where grocery stores are located and how food is priced to what food is available in certain locations. Every year while millions of pounds of food are wasted, millions of people are hungry and facing food insecurity. On this experience we will begin to examine the history of our food systems and how they are founded on the basis of white settler colonialism. By understanding how our food systems were constructed and by working in power with local communities, we will start to envision a world liberated from our current oppressive food systems. A world in which everyone has sustainable, healthy, affordable food access.  We will spend time reflecting on how food justice is connected to environmental justice, racial justice, houselessness, sustainability, and many other forms of justices. As houselessness is a major issue in Salt Lake City, we will take a particularly close look at how houselessness and hunger are interconnected.

Past Participant Reflections

“At the end of my trip when we went to the farm as out last agency, everything clicked. It was a culmination of all the services we had done finally coming full circle. We saw every step in the process of food justice. Plus, the person who was head of the farm was extremely insightful and I learned a lot from them.”

“I intend to take the experience and knowledge I was able to gain in Seattle and put it to work in variety of ways in my own community. This will include becoming more involved with a few different organizations and projects that are actively trying to fight for food justice and fight against poverty and hunger.”

Cost: $440 (cost is all-inclusive and covers lodging, transportation, food, and volunteer experiences).

Dates: 3/5 to 3/12

About this Experience

There is no greater disservice done to the immigrant community than to reduce our experiences and plight. On this Alt Break, we will explore the complexities of immigration, legal and otherwise, by delving into the root causes of undocumented immigration, oppression disproportionately affecting immigrants, and best practices in building community with folx of varying legal status. This experience will focus on humanizing Undocu- individuals and shifting away from the dominant xenophobic narrative of stigmatization to one of strength and resilience. We will work in power with community-centered organizations in pursuit of justice-based experiential learning around immigration with the understanding of these two fundamental lenses: 1. No human being is illegal. 2. Cultural, ethnic, and racial diversity is an asset to a civil society, not a deficit.

Past Participant Reflections

“This break was extremely meaningful in every aspect, but I feel like the playing factor in tying all the little pieces together was how well reflections post experience as a group gave us the opportunity to bounce ideas and opinions back and forth and reevaluate our thoughts and feelings. It helped me to overcome barriers that I had previously not encountered before in terms of dialogue and understanding.”

“The opportunity to talk to actual people and affected individuals was the most powerful experience. I will remember their stories, not the numbers of statistics that the community partners provided for us.”

Cost: $450 (cost is all-inclusive and covers lodging, transportation, food, and volunteer experiences).

Dates: 3/5 to 3/12

About this Experience

Participants on this Alt Break will explore the complex interconnections of people and planet as well as diving into the delicate relationships of marine ecological structures and human impacts. By doing so, we acknowledge the care of the people on Earth is related to the health and well being of our planet. This will be done by working closely with communities and individuals to support the active conservation efforts and become stewards of the Earth’s marine spaces. This hands-on community engaged learning experience will identify the intersecting effects of our oceans, humans, and the ocean wildlife, by looking through the eyes of the oceans primary stabilizer: the shark. Participants on this exciting Alt Break will be learning from and working alongside non-profit organizations and social impact groups striving for marine conservation and education.

Past Participant Reflections

“The experience deepened my understanding of the importance of native plants to the functionality of an environment. I also learned about ways I could become more involved from the interns we worked with, and I felt as though we made huge progress in just a few hours.”

“The service also was very impactful; we were able to see the direct effect our service was having with the local community.”

Cost: $480 (cost is all-inclusive and covers lodging, transportation, food, and volunteer experiences).

Dates: 3/5 to 3/12

About this Experience

Michelle Alexander says it best when she writes in her book, The New Jim Crow, “Today it is perfectly legal to discriminate against criminals in nearly all the ways that it was once legal to discriminate against African Americans. Once you’re labeled a felon, the old forms of discrimination—employment discrimination, housing discrimination, denial of the right to vote, denial of educational opportunity, denial of food stamps and other public benefits, and exclusion from jury service—are suddenly legal. As a criminal, you have scarcely more rights, and arguably less respect, than a black man living in Alabama at the height of Jim Crow. We have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it.”

Despite claims that slavery in America is over, the reality is it just goes by a different name: mass incarceration. Join us as we embark on a journey to unpack Anti-Blackness, the prison-industrial complex*, abolition, and use our collective radical imagination to build a vision for the future rooted in transformative justice**. We will learn from the rich local knowledge of community organizations in Oakland and by the end have an understanding of how to apply it to our every-day lives.

* From Critical Resistance: “The prison industrial complex (PIC) is a term we use to describe the overlapping interests of government and industry that use surveillance, policing, and imprisonment as solutions to economic, social and political problems.”

** From Mia Mingus: “Transformative Justice (TJ) is a political framework and approach for responding to violence, harm and abuse. At its most basic, it seeks to respond to violence without creating more violence and/or engaging in harm reduction to lessen the violence.”

Cost: $475 (cost is all-inclusive and covers lodging, transportation, food, and volunteer experiences).

Dates: 3/5 to 3/12

About this Experience

This Queering Justice experience is going to be an opportunity to learn about different facets of Queering History and pivotal points of the Queer Liberation movement in celebration, while focusing on the strides within the queer community we still need to overcome, like racial justice, white supremacy, trans rights, sexism and so on. Let us disorient Queer Stereotypes together!

Past Participants Reflections

“The reflections showcased the importance of considering privilege both outside and inside the LGBT community. My understanding of intersectionality was deepened through volunteering with Aguilas and Trikone.”Past Participant Reflections

“I learned SO much from this trip. I learned more about the history of the LGBTQ+ community and the issues surrounding it today. I met many incredible people, some with very similar opinions to mine and others who I disagreed with on some topics. I think meeting all of these different people and dialoguing was the most impactful.”

Cost: $485 (cost is all-inclusive and covers lodging, transportation, food, and volunteer experiences).

Dates: 3/5 to 3/12

About this Experience

Imagine having your identity, home, family, culture, and language all snatched away from you. Sounds like a nightmare, right? This is what refugees are forced to do when ejected out of their home country to a foreign place, where they are alien to the language, norms, etc. This AB experience is structured around meeting the needs of refugees as well as advocating for their rights in the Salt Lake area by working in close collaboration with local non-profits centered on creating a safe haven for these families in our lovely city. Come prepared to not only become an refugee rights and resettlement expert, but also to make new friendships and have a lasting impact in the world!

Cost: FREE. The Bennion Center will cover all AB-related expenses for participants including transportation, food, and volunteer experiences. (Participants will be responsible for individual purchases such as souvenirs, extra snacks, etc.)

Dates: 3/19 to 3/20

About this Experience

An immersive experience that is both highly educational and labor intensive, this break will focus on the practice of environmentalism in an urban setting.

Participants will do direct engagements to support non-profit / governmental organizations, work on projects that aim to provide equitable access to green & blue spaces in the city, examine the walkability of different parts of the city, explore policies and actions to promote a more sustainable future, and rethink about the changing relationship between humans and nature throughout history as well as our place within the larger ecosystem.

Participants will be serving alongside community organizations in this environmentally conscious city and learning best practices of environmental stewardship in cities.

Past Participant Reflection

“Working at Free Geek really opened my eyes to the long process that must be taken to recycle electronics. I never realized that computers had to be broken down to plastic, metal, and chords. It made me realize that we should try to design our computers to be recycled easier and try to use less harmful chemicals when making them.”

Cost: $430* (cost is all-inclusive and covers lodging, transportation, food, and volunteer experiences).

Dates: 3/5 to 3/12

Participant Information

The Alternative Breaks spring selection process is application based only (not first-come, first-served). AWB is first-come, first-served, so completing the registration confirms your participation. The deadline to apply for Spring Alt Breaks is Monday, November 22nd, 2021 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!

All information sessions will be held in the Bennion Center (Union 101) on the following dates: TBA

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 trip 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 trip activities and trainings (approximately 8 hours)
  • Provide policy information for any personal medical insurance they will have for the duration of their trip 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 trip (i.e. souvenirs)
  • Participate in all trip 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 October 30, 2020 from 4:00-6:00 pm (loction TBA).

Applicants will be notified whether or not they have been selected by January 4th, 2022. At this time, applicants who have been selected will have until January 28th to reserve their spot with a $100 down payment. Payment method will be available online. Failure to place a down payment will result in forfeiture of your spot. Down Payments are non-refundable.

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

Total costs must be paid by February 18th, 2022.

If you cancel your reservation on an experience after February 18th, 2022, 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.

Trip Discounts (AB version of a scholarship) to subsidize the cost of the AB experience are available to students with a financial need. All participants are welcome to apply if you are experiencing a financial hardship. Trip Discount applications will be made available upon being offered a trip spot and are due January 21st, 2022.

For any questions or concerns please contact Grace Hymel.



October 27, 2021

January 10, 2021

January 19, 2022

Janaury 24, 2022

January 28, 2022

February 18, 2022

March 5-12, 2022

March 18-20, 2022


Applications open online for Spring 2022

Applications close

Notification of participant status

Break Discount Application due

$100, non-refundable Down Payment is due to confirm participation

Final Payments due and all AB Participant Forms due

Alternative Spring Break

Weekend Break & AB Lite

AB Spring Reorientation Event


Please contact Grace Hymel with any questions

Support for Alternative Breaks experiences provided by:

U of U Alumni Association Logo
Parent fund
BW Bastian Foundation
Last Updated: 1/24/22