Alternative Break

Alternative Break

Alternative Break gives you the chance to participate in community-based projects that include engagement with members of the community and exposure to the problems, customs and culture of the region. Our teams are trained by community partners to understand the specific content of their service work and are prepared to carry out their tasks.

Spring break cohorts will be selected in November 2018. Each trip will be comprised of a diverse group of students who will get to know one another in pre-service meetings January – March. This is a great way to meet new people who are also passionate about service! Choose to serve locally, nationally, or internationally, receive pre-training, and take leadership roles on campus by participating in Alternative Break. PittServes is seeking students who want to make a difference, learn about themselves, and create a better community.


Interviews and selection will take place in November with a selection celebration before break in December. Team meetings will begin in January in preparation for travel in March.


Please direct questions to



As part of your Alternative Break experience, you will reflect on the impact and meaning of your service, transfer what you have learned to your own community, and embark on a course of lifelong civic engagement.

Advisory Board | Local Trips | National Trips

Advisory Board

Melana Dayanim
Senior Hill District, 2016 & 2017
Jahvon Dockery
Senior Ecuador, 2017 - Fall Break, 2017 - Washington DC, 2016 - Pittsburgh, 2015
Katie Dodson
Madeline Frankel
Sophomore, Political Science Ecuador, 2017
Sarah Grguras
Junior - Environmental Studies and Ecology & Evolution Hill District Spring Break 2017 I break because I want to get to know the community better.
Meghan Hanson
Sophomore, Biology Major Cumberland Trail, 2017 I break to make a meaningful impact on the community.
Amy Kelley
Junior - Applied Developmental Psychology Fall Alt Break at Camp Kon-O-Kwee (2016) and Washington D.C, Spring 2017 I break because I love learning, serving in different communities and meeting new people!
Lydia Lu
Sophomore - Psychology and Economics East liberty (repair the world) 2017 I break because it is so much fun!
Jessica Miller
Amro Nasser
Sophomore - Molecular Biology Major East Liberty: Repair the World, Spring 2017 Why I Break: There are few experiences more fulfilling than spending my break working to serve the communities and people that I share this city, country, and world with.
Stephen Schanes
Junior - Mechanical Engineering Cumberland Trail, Tennessee - Spring 2017 I break to meet the fantastic and dedicated community members and Pitt students that participate in Alt Break!


What do we do on Alternative Break?


During the week of Alternative Spring Break, a team of Pitt students participate in daily service projects with  local nonprofit organizations and community partners. All transportation is coordinated through the Office of PittServes. The sponsoring agency gives an orientation that outlines the social issues that impact the community.

Students participate in intentional team building and community service with members of the organizations served. Fall Break and Spring Break options are currently offered for all Pitt students. Each program determines the travel schedule, number of hours served, and continued engagement. Alternative Break is both drug-free and alcohol-free.

Past Local Trips


Students have the opportunity to roll up their sleeves in and around Pittsburgh each day throughout Spring Break to make a difference locally. Trips in Pittsburgh take place from 9:00am – 5:30pm daily and students gather as a group for dinner and then return to their residence hall or apartment for the evening. Students traveling just outside of Pittsburgh to the YMCA Camp Kon-o-kwee experience the camp fully with service daily and evening dinners, DIY service, and camp fires! Students who want to learn more about their surrounding communities should consider serving in one of our Pittsburgh region Alternative Break Trips.


Past National Trips


Students who traveled to Washington, D.C. spent the week serving at Youth Serving Opportunity Partners. This organization provides support services to individuals experiencing homelessness in the area. Students lodged in Washington, D.C. at a local hostel and worked as a team throughout the week.

Students who want to get their hands dirty and leave a lasting environmental impact should consider serving at the Cumberland Trail in Tennessee. Over the past 10 years Pitt students have built miles of trails during Alternative Break, and the trail is also a great way to get to see the country side! All students interested in this trip should be in good physical shape and be prepared to hike ~5 miles per day.

Each of our national trips offers a day of sight seeing in the local community.


Past International Trips


Traveling to Latin America, Pitt students stood on both sides of the equator and had a lasting impact. Service projects supported the communities of Quito and Chilcapamba, Ecuador. The 2018 trips offered a general trip for students and a specific opportunity for students from the School for Computing and Information Science.


Upcoming Trips


Options for the 2018-2019 trips will be announced in summer 2018. Fall Break is an opportunity to engage during the long weekend of Fall Break.

Application, selection, team building sessions and pre-service training for spring break 2019 will take place in November 2018 – February 2019. Build your break experience with new friends, new ideas, and new locations!

May Break trips will be announced in early 2019.


Costs may vary for trips and scholarships / grants are available to students who are accepted to the program. Funding is being finalized at this time, full costs of programming will likely be: $30 – $50 for local trips; $350 – $500 for national trips; $2500 for international trips. Nearly all costs are covered through the registration fee – some meals, additional student spending, or souvenirs are not covered by this fee.


Check out some pictures from Alternative Break 2017 below!

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