Alternative Breaks

Supporting justice work and community-identified projects both globally and locally, Naz Alternative Breaks connects students, faculty, staff and community partners through an immersive service and education experience during school breaks. Spend time with your team preparing to enter a new community in the weeks leading up to Winter or Spring Break, committing to purposeful and empathetic conversations, understanding reciprocity and the nature of service, and participating in self-reflection. Travel locally or globally where you will learn and serve alongside peers and community members. Upon returning to campus, apply what you learned to social issues in Rochester and consider how to become a more active citizen in your daily life.

2023-2024 Programs

In 2023-2024, Alt Breaks traveled during January and March breaks. Alt Breaks are led by two Nazareth student team leaders trained in the Break Away model, and accompanied by two Faculty or Staff advisors. Undergraduate and Graduate students are eligible to apply.

Apply now

Community & Resilience along the US-Mexico Border

Ecosystem Recovery and Community Resiliency in Puerto Rico

A Cross-Section of the Social Systems of Chicago

Practices of a Sustainable Living Community in Pennsylvania

Naz Alternative Breaks strives to be equitable and accessible in its programming. If accommodations are needed to complete the application or interview process, please contact Jennifer Canning, Naz Alt Breaks, 585-389-2304, to make arrangements. 

Alternative Break Parameters

Cost to Student

Cost to Undergrad Student After Fundraising and Naz Support:

  • Costs of Alt Breaks are determined by mode of travel (land or air, or Rochester-based), and will range from $450 to $850.

Cost to Grad Student will differ by experience.

- A non-refundable deposit must be made by October 31 for all Winter and Spring participants.
- Cost includes program fees, excursions, lodging, meals, and transportation for the duration of the Alt Break. Financial assistance is available for those with demonstrated need.

Fundraising: All Alternative Break participants are required to actively engage in Alternative Break fundraising events, including a letter writing campaign, advertising donation days at local restaurants, and more! These fundraising activities allow us to keep the cost of trips affordable for all students.


Winter Break (January)

  • Community & Resilience along the US-Mexico Border (San Diego, CA)
  • Saturday, January 13 - Saturday, January 20
  • Ecosystem Recovery & Community Resiliency (San Juan, Puerto Rico)
  • Sunday, January 14 - Sunday, January 21

Spring Break (March)

  • A Cross-Section of the Social Systems of Chicago (Chicago, IL)
  • Sunday, March 17 - Saturday, March 23
  • Practices of a Sustainable Living Community (Port Royal, PA)
  • Sunday, March 17 - Saturday, March 23
Information Sessions

Visit Alt Breaks at the Student Engagement Expo and attend the Information Sessions in September to learn details about all of our upcoming Alt Breaks!

Tuesday 9/12 12:10 - 1pm

Monday 9/18 4 - 5 pm

Wednesday 9/20 7 - 8 pm

Thursday 9/21 12:10 - 1 pm

All info sessions will be held in GAC 122.

  • Applications are due Friday, September 29th.
  • Deposit Payments are due Friday, October 27th.

Payments are non-refundable.

How to Apply
  1. Attend an Alternative Break Information Session in September.
  2. Complete the online application before the stated deadline. 
  3. Schedule an interview with Alternative Break student leaders and staff.
Program Goals

Students will: 

  • Prepare for their experience by researching issues and community partners, committing to purposeful and empathetic conversations, understanding reciprocity and the nature of service, and participating in self-reflection.
  • Create relationships with students, advisors and community members. 
  • Consider how we enter a community ethically and respectfully.
  • Commit to continuing the work after the experience is over.
Program Requirements

Alt Break participants must provide the following before the stated deadline:

  • the required deposit amount.
  • a signed Nazareth University Liability Waiver.
  • a signed Nazareth University Alternative Break Code of Conduct Form.
  • a signed Nazareth University Short-Term Program Pre-Application Checklist.
  • a completed Nazareth University Alternative Break Emergency and Medical Information Form.

Many trips also require a background check, valid passport, notarized liability forms, health forms and/or vaccines, which may incur additional costs. See specific experience information for details under "Travel Requirements" on the program's webpage.

All Alt Break participants must:

  • Attend five team meetings before the experience. Meetings usually take place in the evenings. 
  • Attend the all-participant meetings throughout the semester, both before and after the experience. 
  • Attend the team reorientation activities.
  • Participate in program fundraising opportunities.
  • Participate in reflection meetings during the experience.
  • Complete a Final Reflection survey.

Satisfaction of these requirements fulfills the University's Experiential Learning requirement. 


Alt Break participants may be provided with readings that addresses cultural issues, social responsibility, sustainable development and issue-specific topics that will be discussed during team meetings and while on the experience.


Naz Alternative Breaks is part of the nationwide Break Away organization and follows its guiding principles of trips that include intentional preparation, continuous reflection, and a commitment to service beyond the trip experience.

Experiential Learning

Some short-term opportunities are an approved pathway for Experiential Learning, which is one component of the core curriculum at Naz.

Learn more

Students plant vegetables at Terra Madre gardens in San Diego, California

Chicano community in San Diego

"I was able to have the experience of a lifetime discovering the beauty of the Chicano community in San Diego, California — as well as the systemic inequities that affect people there."

Read: Karlee Robb's blog post ≫

Students and staff in white aprons and masks in the kitchen at Central Union Mission, Washington, DC

Why You Should Go On An Alternative Break With Nazareth

"As I have become increasingly involved in Nazareth Alternative Breaks, it has become the glue of my undergraduate experience, and has set the tone for my life's work."

Read: Elena Baugh's blog post