Home building project, spring break 2016

Connecting with community, learning about complex issues

Service immersion trips are designed to connect students with community members through an engaging, experiential learning opportunity. These hands-on experiences prompt learning about community issues, encourage self-understanding, and inspire commitment to future action. 

All undergraduate and graduate students are welcome on our trips, and a limited amount of need-based financial assistance is available. Interested in trips outside the U.S.? We also lead trips to the Dominican Republic and to Peru

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2018 alternative spring break trips 

Our student-led alternative breaks are opportunities for students to immerse themselves in a new place, spend the week engaged in service projects, broaden their horizons as they learn about social and environmental issues, and make connections with fellow Hokies and community members. 

Students of any major or year (undergraduate or graduate) can apply for these trips, with the exception of our trip focused on poverty, which is only for Honors students. Apply for any of the below trips by January 29!

Trips range in cost between $200-650 (includes food, lodging, and transportation.) Need-based financial assistance is available for these trips. All applicants will be considered. 

  • Community Development & Home Repair
    Hurley, Virginia | Estimated cost: $230 - $330 / participant
    We will travel to Hurley, Virginia and work with Hurley Community Development (HCD), a community based organization located in the coalfields and mountains of Central Appalachia. HCD works to improve the lives of the residents of Buchanan County by offering a home repair program and food bank to allow residents to remain in their homes. Participants on this trip will work on home repair projects that may include roof repair, deck construction, insulation/drywall insulation, painting etc. We may also have the opportunity to help with HCD's food bank program by collecting and preparing food boxes for distribution to residents.

  • Food Justice 
    Baltimore, Maryland | Estimated cost: $350 - $450 / participant
    One in six people in the United States deal with hunger or food insecurity. This means over 40 million people struggle to access healthy food or food in general. Urban farming has been a local community response at combating food insecurity in a city or town setting. On this trip, participants will be partnering with local urban farm in addressing food insecurity and injustices within the greater Baltimore area. Participants should be ready to learn more and think through ways of enhancing food security, safety and access, and improving nutrition and health.

  • HIV/AIDS Prevention & Awareness 
    New York City | Estimated cost: $550 - $650 / participant
    For this trip, we will be going to New York City to work with GMHC - the world’s first and leading provider of HIV/AIDS prevention, care and advocacy. During the trip participants will immerse ourselves in a combination of workshops and activities organized by GMHC to increase awareness about the issues related to HIV/AIDS and directly interact with GMHC faculties and clients. We are looking for students across the spectrum--whether you are well-acquainted with this issue or you are completely new and eager to learn, we have a place for you on this trip.
  • Immigration 
    Location TBA | Estimated cost: $450 - $550 / participant
    DACA, the Deferred Action for Early Childhood Arrivals, gave young dreamers who immigrated to the United States an opportunity to receive an education and make a living for themselves without the worries of their citizenship status. Unfortunately, DACA was rescinded by the Trump Administration in September of 2017 and many people face the risk of deportation. There have been active lobbying efforts to combat the actions taken by our current administration. Join us on a trip as we delve deeper into the topic of immigration and immigrant rights. Look forward to working directly with immigrant organizations and learning more about what we can do to provide support to those who are facing challenges in the wake of our current political climate. 

  • Environmental Conservation & National Parks
    Sharpsburg, Maryland | Estimated cost: $190 - $290
    In 1872 the first National Park signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant. Today there are over 50 National Parks in the United States seeing over 300 million visitors a year. National Parks provide an important role in sustaining the U.S.'s environment. On this trip, participants will work with Park Rangers and others at sustaining the natural environment and preserving the lands that are a part of the National Parks System.

  • Disaster Relief 
    New Orleans, Louisiana | Estimated cost: $450 - $550
    Please note: this trip is currently full.
    In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina displaced more than a million people in the Gulf Coast region and caused $108 billion in damage. Over 12 years later, the communities affected by this storm are still working to return to life before Katrina. For this trip, we will be traveling to Louisiana to work with SBP, an organization that specializes in resilience, recovery and providing housing for those affected by natural disasters. We will spend the week rebuilding in the New Orleans area as well as experiencing the incredible culture of this region. Join us as we work to help this community and enjoy the upbeat spirit of NOLA. 
  • Poverty (Honors Residential Commons ONLY)
    Location TBA | Estimated cost: $250 - $350
    More details coming soon!

Weekend trips 

On our weekend immersion trips, you’ll be a part of a service immersion experience where you’ll meet new people, serve a cause that matters to you, and learn more about social justice issues. You’ll leave Friday night, and return Sunday afternoon with new friends, questions, and ideas. 

These trips are focused on specific issues. You’ll learn about the community partner(s) and location of the trip at the required pre-trip meeting. Trips are open to all students, and cost $30 (includes food, lodging, and transportation.) Need-based financial assistance is available for these trips. 

These trips have wrapped up for the fall semester! Stay tuned for details on our spring weekend trips.