Campus Ministry

Alternative Breaks

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful,
committed citizens can change the world.
Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
-Margaret Mead

Recent Trips

Franciscans for the Poor: Cincinnati, OH 
Includes experiences of diverse cultures and shared prayers.  While living a simple, communal lifestyle, participants are placed in non-profit agencies with opportunities to bond with others for insight into the causes and effects of poverty.

Interfaith Encounters: Philadelphia, PA 
A week long immersion experience for college students to meet, interact, and work with members of religious groups different from their own.  The program combines interfaith learning, visits to 5-6 diverse faith communities, and intensive community service.

Helping at Home: Reading, PA 
“Next door to the university and yet worlds away.”  This phrase encapsulates what students experience while ministering to people in the Reading area.  While assisting diverse non-profit agencies, students are exposed to the vast social and economic inequalities that characterize the United States’ urban landscape, of which Reading is a poignant microcosm.

Nazareth Farm: West Virginia 
Celebrate the richness of Appalachia by building relationships with the local community by addressing substandard housing and providing home repair. 

Once Upon A time in Appalachia: Maryville, Tennessee
Repairing trails, planting trees, construction, and working alongside the Cherokee people are some of the unique experiences students will gain as a part of this alternative break experience in the beautiful mountains of Eastern Tennessee.   

IMMERSION EXPERIENCE: Vaya con Dios: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
A week of teaching, serving and learning in which students will assist the Bernardine Sisters (founders of Alvernia) with the operations of their school and experience life in the Los Tres Brazos barrio. They will build relationships to span miles and last lifetimes.

We invite you to support our partnership with the Bernardine Sisters in Santo Domingo. 



To keep the cost of the trips low for students, Alternative Breaks has a rigorous fundraising regimen.   All students are required to participate in fundraising.  The biggest and most successful fundraiser is our letter-writing campaign, deemed "Adopt-a-Breaker."  Each student will write letters to friends, families, local businesses, politicians, and more, asking for donations (i.e. adoption) for his or her trip.  In addition, each group will perform various large group fundraiser throughout the year such as selling gift cards, working concessions at the Sovereign Center, selling pizza, or doing a bake sale.  There is no specific amount each student needs to raise, but rather a goal that each trip must raise.


Alvernia University Alternative Breaks organizes weekend and week-long service and immersion trips for students to inspire and empower them to lead lives dedicated to serving the underserved, promoting peace and justice, and working towards the common good.  Centered around the pillars of education, direct service, and reflection, Alternative Breaks trips 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.  The hope is that these short-term experiences will challenge students to make a lifelong commitment to servant leadership and active citizenship.


Alvernia University Alternative Breaks envisions an engaged campus that values community and promotes the common good.


Alternative Breaks is a large commitment.  Participants on spring break trips will start meeting in mid-October and continue meeting weekly or bi-weekly until the trip the following spring.  Summer trip participants will start meeting in mid-March.  Meetings will have a variety of topics--icebreakers, introduction to Alternative Breaks, team-building activities, movies or information about the trip issue, Drug and Alcohol Policy (We are illegal drug and alcohol free!), and, of course, fundraising.

All trips will also participate in some large-group Alternative Breaks activities such as the First Meeting, MLK Day of Service, and AB Reunion.

Student Leadership

Each Alternative Breaks trip has one student leader to accompany one staff leader. "Student Site Leaders" will help plan meetings, organize fundraisers, communicate with their group, plan reflections, gain valuable life skills, and have a ton of fun!  You do not need to have been on a trip before to be a leader.


Applications are available in Campus Ministry. Limited availability! Contact Campus Ministry for more information. 

Alternative Breaks 2012


Breakers in Florida recreating wildlife habitats

Romero and Habitat

Breakers in Camden, NJ working with Habitat for Humanity

Campus Ministry

Campus Commons

Kelly Caddy

Director of Campus Ministry
CC 104B

Brian Ballantine

Campus Minister
CC 104C

Fr. Ronald Bowman

Catholic Chaplain
CC 104D

Rev. Marsha Anderson

Ecumenical Chaplain
CC 104D

Rubina Tareen

Interfaith Chaplain
CC 104D

Sr. Christen Shukwit, OSF

Campus Minister
CC 104A

Sr. Florence Kruczek, OSF
Campus Minister
CC 104A


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