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 open.

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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Application Deadline: September 14, 2014 by 11:59pm. *Strict deadline enforced

The program is open to all - including Dreamers, AB 540, undocumented students, and alumni. Trips with flights require a government ID. Partial fee waivers are available to all who demonstrate financial need regardless of citizen status

Questions?  Contact us!

Participant Commitments and Responsibilities:  

While on the service trip, all participants are expected to adhere to trip guidelines, participant agreements, and Break Leader decisions. Post-trip, volunteers are required to create content for the newsletter as well as get involved in a service/art project at UC Berkeley. Students are also invited to participate in an optional 6-8 hours of service locally after the trip. 

Time Commitments:

  • Fall 2014 DeCal, Wednesdays 6-8pm (Starts on Wednesday, September 24th)

  • Magnolia Project Winter Trip:  January 3-17th, 2015

  • Urban Pathways Project Winter Trip: TBD - (1 week between January 3-17th)

  • Food and Justice Storytelling Project: January 10-17th, 2015

Financial Commitments:

  • Pay a participant fee. These fees range from $200 - $375 and cover housing, transportation, and food for the entire trip. An initial non-refundable deposit of $100 will be due at the second DeCal, October 1. All trip fees are non-refundable. 

    • Magnolia Project:  $375
    • Urban Pathways Project: $200
    • Food and Justice Storytelling Project: $200
  • Magnilia Project Participants will be responsible for purchasing their own plane tickets.

  • Meet an additional minimum fundraising commitment of $150.

  • Three $50 need-based Participant Stipends will be available on a case-by-case basis for each trip. Stipends are available for all students regardless of documentation status including Dreamers, AB540, and those without documentation. To apply go to: Applications are due September 15th at 5pm.

  • Participants are required to participate in all fundraising activities to make trips possible.  

Personal Commitments:

  • Agree and adhere to trip guidelines and participant agreements.

  • Uphold No Alcohol and No Drug policy for all activities related to Alternative Breaks.

  • Fill out and turn in all trip safety and liability forms. 

Selection Timeline:

  • Application Deadline:  Sunday, September 14, 2014 by 11:59pm

  • Decisions:  By September 20, 2014

  • First DeCal:  Wednesday, September 24, 2014, 6-8pm

Questions? Need more information?

E-mail us at

Attend an information session [ADA accessible]

Please do NOT click "submit" until the entire application is complete!

Incomplete applications will NOT be read!


I. Personal Information 

First and Middle Name
Please use your full legal name
Last Name
Email Phone
SID: Expected Graduation Year:
Hometown: What is your residential status?
What is your major:
What year are you in college?
Are you a first-generation college student, meaning your parents, guardians, or grandparents did not attend college?

How did you hear about this program?
Racial or ethnic identity:


If you selected "other", or would like to provide details about your race/ethnicity, please do so:

What languages do you speak other than English? 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 indicate whether you live in the Residence Hall, a co-op or are a member of a Fraternity or Sorority.

Please check if you will be 21 years old by January 3, 2013.
Please check if you will be 21 by then and are willing and able to serve as a driver for the group.


T-Shirt Size 

Dietary Needs/Preferences:

 Did you attend an information session?

Have you participated in Alternative Breaks or Magnolia Project before?

Which issues are you most interested in learning more about through the DECal and trip?


II. Trip Preferences

Please rank the winter break trips in your order of preference, Trip Preference 1 being your first choice and Trip Preference 3 being your last choice. 

Then rate your level of interest for each trip, with 5 being very strong interest and 1 being very weak interest.

Trip Preference 1:

Interest Level:

Trip Preference 2:

Interest Level:

Preference #3:

Interest Level:

III. Personal Statement

Do NOT copy and paste your answers! Due to system programming, your application will not be processed correctly if you copy and paste from an external source


Question #1: What does "social justice" mean to you?  (250 words max)


Question #2: Explain your interest in Alternative Breaks, specifically regarding the trip(s) you are most interested in. Include what you hope to learn and gain from your participation in the Alternative Breaks program, and how you will use these lessons and skills towards advocating for social justice in your future. (250 words max)

Question #3: Please list any personal qualities or experiences (academic, service-related, work-related, etc.) you have that are relevant to your first and second trip preferences or the program as a whole. Please note that previous experience is not a requirement; participants with little experience and lots of passion are equally desired as those with lots of experience. If you are an alumni, let us know. (250 words max)


I have read all participant responsibilities and agree to these conditions if selected for 2013 Winter service trip.


I have completed all required fields and answered all questions in the personal statement.


Before you submit your application, make sure all required fields have been completed. We will NOT review applications that are incomplete.



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