Alternative Breaks | Spring 2020

Five university-sponsored trips provide experiential learning for nearly 50 students


Nearly 50 Alvernia University students journey domestically and internationally during spring break to serve others on five Alternative Breaks in Arizona, Colorado, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Cuba and Mexico. 


“Instead of taking normal breaks allotted in the academic calendar, our students live the mission through Alternative Breaks,” said Julianne Wallace, vice president for Mission & Ministry. “The trips are a large commitment for the students, as they meet regularly throughout the year, completing icebreaker and team building activities, overviewing their trips itineraries, watching movies as a group and completing a vital component, fundraising.”


Alternative Breaks, which are weekend and week long service and immersion trips for students to inspire and empower them to lead lives dedicated to serving the underserved, promote peace, justice and working toward the common good.


The spring 2020 Alternative Break trips are as follows: 

  • Cuba: Students visit the Franciscan Missionary Union and several cities and learn to live in solidarity and service.
  • Tucson, Ariz. & Nogales, Mexico: Students navigate the U.S.-Mexico border, discovering the root causes of migration and providing service in the area.
  • Denver, Colo.: Students serve the homeless community in the city of Denver with a group of volunteers serving at Christ in the City.
  • Philadelphia, Pa.: Students meet, interact, and work with members of religious groups different from their own.
  • Washington D.C.: Students build intellectual, emotional, spiritual, and physical awareness of the root causes and realities of poverty in the United States and work with local agencies that serve those in poverty.


Outside of the traditional spring break, Alvernia organizes Alternative Breaks for winter break and the beginning of summer break. The trips are designed to address pertinent social issues and provide students the opportunity to learn, serve, and reflect with a small community that fosters personal growth and promotes radical love.