Human Rights


Opened my Eyes

Alternative Breaks - Winter/Spring Service Trips and Summer Internships

Alternative Breaks is a service-learning program for students to explore social issues through meaningful service, education, and reflection during their academic breaks. The Alternative Breaks program aims to: train Break Leaders with the knowledge and skills to lead their peers in memorable, safe, and fun breaks; strengthen partnerships with communities where breaks take place; sustain service education in DECals and apply the justice lens of the service trip social issues to local (Bay Area) contexts; and create trips are open to students from all income levels.

This student-led program offers the opportunity for growth from Participant to Break Leader to Director.  This unique feature provides students with the foundation to continue on a pathway of peace and service-work after the trips end.

Meet this year's Director Team: 


Peggy Hsieh: Resources, Alejandra Lopez: Community Partnerships, Scott Hovdey: Alternative Breaks Coordinator,

Emily Droge: Communications, Pilar Manriquez: Training and Sustainability




In 2014, we made a strategic move to join Magnolia Project, focused in New Orleans, with our Alternative Breaks program. This increases our capacity to offer winter and spring service trips and also enables us to offer summer internships in each of the 10 Alternative Breaks partner communities. 



More on the Magnolia Project

Formed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, The Magnolia Project is a University of California, Berkeley student social justice organization created in collaboration with the UC Berkeley's Public Service Center. In 2006, UC Berkeley began partnering with community based organizations in New Orleans and 2015-16 marks the tenth year of our working in solidarity with Gulf Coast communities.

Magnolia Project seeks dedicated students who are not afraid to get dirty and challenge their own assumptions about a just rebuilding process in the Gulf Coast. The program offers a 2-week winter service trip, and an 8-week summer internship program.

Winter Service Trips

The Alternative Breaks Winter Service Trips are a two week service and educational trip in January, organized by students and recent alum, for students.

Spring Service Trips

The Alternative Breaks Spring Service Trips are a one week service and education trip March 19-25, 2016. 

If you're interested in interning this summer, please contact Scott Hovdey at for more information.  Applications due March 20th.

Break Leader Application 2016-2017

Application Deadline: Sunday, April 10, by 11:59pm


Thank you for your interest in Alternative Breaks. Before submitting an application:

  • Please review the Break Leader Roles and Responsibilities document in full.
  • Block off Tuesdays from 6-8pm for Break Leader Trainings throughout the year.
  • Block off Wednesdays from 6-8pm for your trip DeCal. 
  • Keep in mind there will be mandatory Center-wide Leadership Trainings on some Thursdays.

Also, please note that to complete your application you are required to submit:

  1. Your most up-to-date resume and contact information for two references (name, title/position, phone number, email, how long you have known the reference, what capacity you have known the reference).
  2. Your personal essay (prompt below) to by the application deadline.

We encourage all applicants to utilize the Career Center's guide to resume writing.

I. Demographic Information

First & Middle Name:

Please use your full legal name.

Last Name: 


Email: Phone:
SID: Expected Graduation Year:
Are you a transfer student? Are you a first-generation college student, meaning your parents, guardians, or grandparents did not attend college?
What is your major?
What is your residential status?
What languages do you speak other than English?  
Gender Identity:

If you selected "I do not identify with the above options", or would like to provide details about your gender identity, please do so:

Racial or ethnic identity:


If you selected "I do not identify with the above options", or would like to provide details about your race/ethnicity, please do so:

How did you hear about this program?
Would you like to subscribe to the Public Service Center's monthly newsletter that lists community events, service and leadership opportunities, scholarships, and more?

The Public Service Center is committed to raising funds for those who need it. Please share your financial aid status with us to help us make this happen. (Please check all that apply.)

Not Eligible for Financial Aid:
Financial Aid Eligible:<-- 65% of undergraduates receive some form of financial aid
Work-Study Eligible:
Pell Grant Eligible:

Please list any dietary preferences or needs you may have:


Please indicate whether you live in the Residence Hall, a co-op or are a member of a Fraternity or Sorority.

Have you participated in any Public Service Center Programs? If so, please select which ones. Use the CTRL key to select multiple programs.

Are you applying to any other internship or leadership programs for 2016-17? If so, please list them here:


II. Position Preference Information

Alternative Breaks Program Information

Are you a returning applicant?

Are you a past program participant?

Break Leader Preferences

Preference #1:

How interested are you in preference #1? (On a scale of 1-5, one being the lowest, five being the highest; include your reasoning)

Preference #2:

How interested are you in preference #2? (On a scale of 1-5, one being the lowest, five being the highest; include your reasoning)

Preference #3:

How interested are you in preference #3? (On a scale of 1-5, one being the lowest, five being the highest; include your reasoning)

III. Short Responses

Please limit your responses to no more than 250 words.

What is your role in creating social change?

In what other activities do you plan to participate during the school year and what time commitments are involved?  If selected to be an Alternative Breaks break leader, how will you balance your commitment as a break leader with your other activities?

IV. FINANCIAL SUPPORT (Through Haas Public Service Scholarship)


In order to make this role accessible to students engaging in their service, students who meet the need based criteria for the Haas Leader Program are eligible to apply for financial support through this application. If you are not Work Study Eligible, you will likely not meet the minimum criteria to be considered for the award.

Apply to the Haas Public Service Leaders Program

The Haas Leaders scholarship is specifically for students who cannot afford to serve for 10-15 hours a week because they need to work significant hours to pay for school. Please describe your personal financial need and why you believe you should be given this scholarship. The information you share will only be accessed by the reviewing committee. (please limit your responses to 250 words)

We will make every effort to allocate funds as equitably as possible, but cannot guarantee that every student will receive an award.


If selected, I will attend a mandatory transitional meeting (April 26, 2016, 6-8pm) with current break leaders.


I submit this application in good faith that the information I have provided is accurate and in my own words.


Once submitted, you will not be able to change anything on the application. Confirm that you have checked your application for accuracy:



Next steps:

1. Take an honest look at your commitments for 2016-2017 to determine whether the Alternative Breaks Program will fit into your schedule. You will serve 8-10 hours per week, which is the equivalent of a 4 unit course. Break Leader Training will occur on Tuesdays from 6-8pm throughout the year. DeCals will occur on Wednesdays from 6-8pm in the spring.  There will be some Center-wide Leadership Trainings on select Thursdays you will be expected to attend.

2. Submit (email) a personal essay, resume, and references (with SID at top) in the same email
DUE: Sunday, April 10, by 11:59pm
Subject Line: Lastname_BLapp Resume and references (PDF please!):

File name: [Last name]_resume
File name: [Last name]_response Essay (12 pt. font, double spaced. PDF)

Essay Prompt:
Please review the Break Leader Roles and Responsibilities document.  In an essay not to exceed 800 words, please address the following:

  • Based on the Break Leader Roles and Responsibilities, what qualities, qualifications, or experience do you have that speak to your ability to fulfill the role of a Break Leader?
  • Why do you want to be an Alternative Breaks break leader?

If you wish, you may frame your essay as a description of a particular social justice issue you have engaged with, or would like to engage with (you may speak in terms of the trip you are most interested in leading). Include what motivates your engagement with this particular issue, and why you would choose (or have chosen) to work for social change in this particular way.

3. Please sign-up for your Break Leader interview.  The last possible day to interview is Friday, April 15.

Calendar Button FaceBook ButtonTwitter Give Button Contact us button