Community Service Center

Alternative Spring Break: FAQ's

Why go on an Alternative Break Trip?
Everyone has their own reasons-- meet new people, see a new corner of the world, learn about new topics and issues firsthand, serve the community, do something different. An alternative break trip can also be a great way to reinforce the theory you learn in the classroom with practice in the real world, a way to step out of your comfort zone, a way to try new activities, a way to develop new skills, a way to make new friends and lifelong memories. Find your reasons!  Contact us or join one of our interest meetings to learn more and see if this is for you!

Who can go on these trips?
CLU students, staff, faculty, administration, alumni and family—anyone with the heart to learn and serve is welcome.Trips have various activities suitable for different abilities and comfort levels.
*Please note that priority will be given to current CLU students, but there is usually room for all!

Is it safe?
Yes—well, it is as safe as we can make it. Safety is a top priority for us.  We know that traveling anywhere can be dangerous. We work closely with our partner organizations and are sure to know what steps and plans they have to ensure safety or handle situations.  So while there are always risks associated with any activity, the University tries to minimize those to the best of our abilities.

  • Before a trip departs, we hold pre-trip meetings for several purposes: to build the team, to communicate trip details, and to reinforce safety practices.  We offer time at each meeting to answer questions that remain for trip participants.
  • The CSC checks with the Center for Disease Control and with the on-campus Health Services to do any necessary pre-trip immunizations and precautions.
  • If we are traveling abroad, we will not go to a location that has a warning issued by the US State Department.
  • While out of the country, each participant is registered with the State Department.
  • When traveling, students are asked to be with groups of a minimum of three persons.
  • We have multiple places emergency and medical information is stored.
  • While abroad, there is typically an in-country host with our group at all times (check with the CSC staff for more specifics about your trip).
  • An extensive First Aid kit goes with every group.
  • As part of traveling abroad, the built-in cost includes supplemental medical insurance that typically includes emergency medical evacuation back to the United States or another designated developing country.
  • There is a CPR and First Aid certified administrator with each trip.

If you are concerned about safety and have additional questions, please contact Melissa Maxwell-Doherty or Karen Schomaker so we can discuss what specific additional steps are being taken to ensure the safety of our group!

How much do they cost?
This varies, depending on the trip. Please attend an interest meeting or email the CSC at for more updated information!

What is included in the price of the trip?
Typically, the cost includes round-trip airfare to and from the destination from LAX with the group.  It also includes all meals while in-country or on location (typically, meals en route in the airport are the responsibility of participants).  Lodging and on-site transportation are also covered.  A recreational activity (specific to the trip) is usually included as well; this can range from a local tour to a hike to a museum.  If the trip is international, supplemental international insurance is also included.
Not included is: any desired souvenirs, any supplemental recreation activities (if there is time and availability), transportation to and from LAX (we do help arrange carpools), other personal costs.

What does the day look like?
Schedules vary, but are typically as follows:
Days start around 7:00 AM for breakfast. A brief group meeting happens, and then our team departs for the worksite for an 8:00 AM start time. Teams work through until lunch, around noon to 1:00 PM. After lunch, work resumes. Water and snack breaks are interspersed throughout the day as needed. Around 4:15 or 4:30 PM, teams clean up for the day and head back to the lodging or meal site around 4:45 PM. Dinner is served (or prepared, depending on the trip). After dinner, there is some down time for showers and relaxing. Typically, a group meeting (reflection time, fun time, information, etc.) is scheduled for about an hour.After that comes bedtime after a hard day’s work!
*Note: Each trip will have mandatory pre-departure team meetings to orient your team to the specifics of your trip as the dates approach.

What are pre-departure requirements?
We will be holding several mandatory pre-departure meetings to start building the team that will be traveling and working together for a week, and to share important information, paperwork, and safety information. There will always be a time for questions and answers as they arise. These meetings are an important venue for communication—they are mandatory so that we can gather the whole team and prepare team members in an efficient manner! 
We also ask you to complete your immunizations and your payment plan (if necessary, and unless prior arrangements have been made) before departure.  There will, of course, be forms to fill out; these will be addressed at pre-departure meetings.

Who leads the trips?
The trips are led by a team of people. A CLU administrator who has been involved in the planning and coordination of the trip will be present (typically Pastor Melissa, Karen or another experienced administrator). There is also a team of student trip leaders who design and facilitate many of the meetings and reflection times. There may be a faculty member who attends to help facilitate some components and exercises as well. On most trips, there is a representative from the organization we are traveling with present with our group at all times (i.e. a Habitat country coordinator).

How do I reserve a spot?
A great way is to attend one of the information meetings that are midway into the fall semester.  We will be able to share more information with you and to help you determine if this is the experience for you.
If you are ready and want to apply for a spot, please contact Karen at or Melissa at about how to do so!  

How am I going to pay for this?
Whew! Good question!  It is a rare college student that has hundreds of dollars at their disposal. 
We have prepared a document with some ideas to get you started on how to fundraise if that is how you choose to earn your trip cost.  The sky is the limit—be creative!
We will also be talking to the group of any persons interested in either the Biloxi trip or the Alternative Spring Break trips about interest in forming a student-led club/organization that is eligible to apply for student fee monies from ASCLU-G.  It could lead to some interesting fundraising opportunities and programming ideas!  If you’re interested, consider serving in a leadership role and helping your peers to organize, raise awareness, and fundraise.  Contact the CSC at for more information.