Alternative Breaks & Weekends

Group photo of students in a greenhouse.

Connecting with Community, Learning About Complex Issues

Our weekend, fall break, and weeklong service immersion trips are designed to connect students with community members through engaging, experiential learning opportunities. These hands-on experiences prompt learning about community issues, encourage self-understanding, and inspire commitment to future action.

Interested in trips outside the United States? We also lead trips to the Dominican Republic and Peru

Spring weekend trips

All weekend service immersion trips are $40 and offered on a first come, first served basis. Price includes food, lodging, and transportation for the weekend.

Transportation will be provided by VT Engage from campus to the service site. Need-based financial assistance is available. All applicants will be considered.

  • Food Justice, March 1 - 3

    One in six people in the United States deal with hunger or food insecurity. This means over 40 million people struggle to regularly access healthy, safe, affordable, and culturally-appropriate food or to access food in general. Urban agriculture has been a local community response at combating food insecurity in a city setting.

    On this trip, participants will be partnering with Friendship Gardens and Second Harvest Food Bank in addressing food insecurity and injustices within the Charlotte area. Participants should be ready to learn more and think through ways of enhancing food security, safety and access, and improving nutrition and health.

    This trip may require heavy lifting and carrying between 5-25 lbs., working with bugs and plants, and significant amounts of bending. We will depart campus around 5 p.m. on March 1 and return around 5 p.m. on March 3. Register today!

  • Women's Rights, April 5 - 7

    Location and details will be announced soon!

Questions? Contact Jessica Davis, assistant director for leadership and civic engagement, at  jesdavis@vt.edu or 540-231-6947.

If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact Jessica during regular business hours at least seven business days prior to a weekend or fall break trip and at least 30 business days before a weeklong trip.

Spring break trips

The application for these trips is closed. Our alternative spring break trips are open to undergraduate and graduate students of any year or major. This year, there were seven trips for students to choose from:

  • Home Repair & Community Building in Hurley, Virginia Participants will serve with Hurley Community Development, Inc. (HCD), a nonprofit committed to improving the quality of life for the residents of Hurley and the surrounding Knox District by offering a home repair program and food bank to help support residents who wish to remain in their hometown.

  • Food Justice in Cedar Grove, North Carolina Participants on this trip will partner with a community farm and delve into the roots of food justice to better understand how community gardening can affect local food systems.

  • Disaster Relief in Wilmington, North Carolina Hurricane Florence had a devastating impact on North Carolina in 2018. Historic flooding created a state of emergency and closed more than 2,000 roadways in the state. On this trip, participants will work on home repair projects with the nonprofit SBP and engage with homeowners in the Wilmington area.

  • LGBTQ+ Advocacy in Montgomery, Alabama For this trip, participants will work alongside AIDS Alabama for their Awareness Day at the statehouse. Participants will learn in-depth information about HIV, AIDS, and key policy issues in Alabama, and have the opportunity to learn how the HIV/AIDS movement has affected the southern United States.

  • Environmental Conservation & State Parks in James River State Park, Virginia On this trip, participants will learn more about conservation of the Virginia State Parks system. Day to day activities will include light maintenance projects, trail construction, maintenance, and rehabilitation, habitat restoration, and other projects identified by the State Park staff.

  • Refugee Rights in Bowling Green, Kentucky On this trip, participants will work with the International Center of Kentucky. This nonprofit addresses the needs of refugees and immigrants in their assimilation to community life by providing employment, educational, housing, and other social services. 

  • Animal & Environmental Welfare in Norfolk, Virginia This trip will explore animal and environmental issues with two community partners: the Virginia Zoological Park and Keep Norfolk Beautiful, an organization that addresses the importance of maintaining a clean environment.

Trips ranged in cost from $150 to $550. These prices include all food, lodging, and transportation.