Winter Service Trips

Magnolia Project Summer Internship


Alternative Breaks is offering winter service trips to New Orleans, Louisiana, the Greater Bay Area, and Los Angeles, California for January 2015. Run by students, the program consists of a DeCal during the fall semester and a two-week service trip during the second half of winter break.

2014-2015 marks the ninth year in a ten-year commitment the UC Berkeley Public Service Center holds in working in solidarity with Gulf Coast Communities. 2014 marked the inaugural year for a winter trip to Los Angeles, CA centered upon the passing of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA 2010).

Alternative Breaks Winter Trips seeks dedicated student volunteers who are not afraid to step outside of their comfort zone and challenge their own assumptions about social inequities. Alternative Breaks holds long-term relationships with many of the community organizations that will be visited. The winter trip opportunities offer the chance to deeply engage with the community and strengthen existing partnerships. This is an opportunity for both experienced student volunteers and those beginning to do justice work.

For Winter Trip news, visit us at our Alternative Breaks News Page. Reach us at with any questions or comments. 

Applications are now closed.

To receive email reminders about future info sessions and application deadlines please email us.

Program Information
Program Dates: January 3-17, 2015 
Time Commitment: 2 weeks in Winter 2014 PLUS Fall 2013 DECal, Wednesdays 6-8pm
Eligibility: Current Cal Students and Alumni
Cost: $375 (Subject to Change)
Application Deadline: September 7, 2014 at 11:59pm. *Strict deadline enforced 

Magnolia ProjectTrip Details

Anyone is welcome to sign up for the trip. As part of our objective to be inclusive to those of all backgrounds, we will be subsidizing trip costs and supporting fundraising efforts. The final per person cost for the trip includes transportation, lodging, and food. Please talk to us if you need any financial assistance.

The purpose of these trips is to participate alongside community members in rebuilding and shaping their communities. The rebuilding effort is still very much ongoing in post-Katrina New Orleans, and participants will have the chance to provide emotional support to residents and engage with and learn about issues of social justice. Participants will have the opportunity to support community members by:

·      Servicing and distributing food to low-income residents

·      Cleaning up the residential environment

·      Gutting and rebuilding houses

·      Communicating with residents about their desired changes and solutions

·      Working with youth

Healthcare in the United States has gone through a tumultuous history, and urban Los Angeles will allow participants to explore the availability of healthcare and to whom. Participants will have the opportunity to support community members by:

·      Conducting public health surveys

·      Aiding a homeless shelter with hygiene programs

·      Promoting legal and public health advocacy

·      Aiding free clinics

·      Working with county and private hospital facilities

·      Building coalitions between organizing and health education


All participants will be expected to attend the mandatory DeCal class for their trip during the fall 2013 semester. DeCals are 6-8pm on Wednesdays, starting in September. The purpose of the DeCal is to give participants a greater understanding of the geography, history, and socioeconomic issues of the trip to make it an even better experience. The DeCal is also an opportunity for participants and break leaders to get to know each other and prepare for two weeks of service! 

Contact or contact Sunshine Oey or call (510) 642-5753.

The Magnolia Project -Winter Trip is generously supported by the Office of the Vice-Chancellor, LEAD Center, ASUC, and alumni, staff and faculty donors. 

Participants  |  Break Leaders   |  Community Partners    
Other Ways to Get Involved

Student-led trips offered by Alternative Breaks (including Magnolia Project) teach participants the complexities of social issues by allowing students to live, serve, and engage in communities directly impacted by injustices addressed in pre-trip DeCal courses led by student facilitators.
We aim to introduce students to specific social justice issues in different communities, empower students to engage in impactful direct service, and create strong, lasting relationships between peers in a challenging and fun team environment.
Each break focuses on a specific topic such as immigration, environmental justice, public health, or poverty. Participants return to Berkeley with clearer perspectives of themselves, their roles as agents of social change, and the ways they can make the most positive impact on their own communities.
Program commitments for participants:
  • Attend a 2-unit fall DeCal course (Wednesdays 6-8 pm)
  • Participate in a service-learning trip during the academic winter break (January 3-17, 2015) or spring break (March 21-27 2015)
  • Fundraise $150 through various fundraising activities to keep costs low for everyone and get the word out about key issues facing our communities
  • Pay a $375 fee for winter trips and $200 for spring trips. (These fees cover housing, transportation, and food for the entire trip. An initial non-refundable deposit of $50 will be due at the first All Community Meeting. All trip fees are non-refundable). 
  • Three $50 Participant Stipends per trip are available for those who have demonstrated need.

Break Leaders
Interested in Leading an Alternative Break on of our 11 trip locations?

Applications to become an Alternative Breaks Leader in the 2015-2016 academic year will be available in late March 2015.

As an Alternative Breaks Leader, you will have the opportunity to develop:

  • leadership skills
  • project planning skills
  • teaching and group facilitation skills
  • marketing and publicity strategies
  • program budgeting and fundraising skills

As a Break Leader, you will connect and partner with organizations that engage in a particular social justice issue. You will also be able to influence and inspire other students towards meaningful service through your work.


All of our trips are initiated by student leaders who are motivated to educate their fellow students through the vehicle of a contemporary social justice issue in society. Towards the end of the academic year, we accept proposals for new trips.

For Community Partners
Alternative Breaks seeks to partner with organizations that promote social justice within their communities by sending service groups for one-week projects during Cal students' academic Spring Break (March 21-27, 2015).

We emphasize sustainability by making a commitment to return year after year to our host communities, including:

  • Greater Bay Area, CA
    Food For Thought: Food Justice and Sustainability
  • Bay Area, CA
    Environmental Justice: Examining Health, Building Community, Demanding Equity
  • Bay Area and Sacramento, CA
    Give Me Shelter: An Exploration of Homelessness and Poverty
  • Central Valley, CA
    Holistic Harvest: Rural Communities in the Central Valley
  • Campo Kumeyaay, CA
    Voices of the Unheard: The Struggle for Equality and Rights in Indian Country
  • Los Angeles, CA
    Premium Health, High Premium: The Issues with U.S. Health Care
  • San Diego, CA & Tijuana, Mexico
    San Diego/Tijuana: Too Many Walls, Not Enough Bridges
  • New Orleans, LA (Magnolia Project)
    NOLA: Hidden, Revealed, Forgotten
  • Phoenix and Tucson, AZ
    We Are All Arizona: Confronting the Attacks on Difference
  • Southern and Central Oregon
    Where the Wild Things Are: Rethinking Social Justice to Include Our Furry Friends

If you are a community-based organization providing services to or advocating for justice for the people in these communities, please contact Community Partnerships Director Selene Calderon at

Other Ways to Get Involved
Alternative Breaks is committed to offering its program to all students, regardless of their financial situations. All of our trips are subsidized by fundraisers and grants, with trip fees at only $200 and fundraising at $150 for an entire week of transportation, lodging, and food. If you would like to help Alternative Breaks provide more opportunities to its students, you can donate to us at the Give to Cal website. All gifts are tax-deductible. 

If you are a Cal alumnus living in one of the communities we serve and are interested in hosting dinner or speaking with one of our trips during spring break, please contact Community Partnerships Director Selene Calderon at



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