What is the purpose of the Alternative Spring Break (ASB) Program?

What will I learn?

Who organizes the projects?

How much will the trip cost?

Who leads each project?

What is the total time commitment for student participants?

Do I have to come to the orientation/pre-departures?

What if I can’t commit to participating in the whole Alternative Spring Break program?

How much free time will I have during the week?

I am a Carleton University student and I’m interested in participating. Where can I get more information?

How are participants selected for projects?

I am a graduate student, can I participate?

I’ve already participated in ASB. Can I apply again?

Can I get course credit for participating in an Alternative Spring Break project?

I’m a Carleton University faculty or staff member and interested in getting involved in Alternative Spring Break. Where can I get more information?

What is the purpose of the Alternative Spring Break (ASB) Program?

ASB provides undergraduate university students with an intensive, short-term experiential learning opportunity where they participate in meaningful, community-identified projects with a domestic or international partner organization. The projects give participants real-life experience working with and learning from people in the community. This experience helps to raise awareness about social issues; promote an appreciation of equity, diversity, and inclusion; highlight the importance of reciprocal relationships, and prepare students to act as catalysts for future change.

What will I learn?

Most participants find that they learn a lot about themselves and how they interact with people. Some participants feel that the experience has changed the way they think about the community, while others say the experience has changed their lives profoundly.

Who organizes the projects?

The projects are developed by partner organizations, in collaboration with the Student Experience Office.

How much will the trip cost?

In 2018/2019, experiences ranged in price from $250 for our domestic ASB option, to between $2200 and $2450 for international experiences. 

The Student Experience Office (SEO) facilitates opportunities for students to offset their program costs, which include flights, accommodation, and food*. Last year, participants received on average $673 in funding support (from the CUSA Student Initiative Fund, faculty contributions, and fundraisers organized by the SEO). Note: This figure is an average.

Additionally, team advisors and leaders provide guidance to participants on individual fundraising and, the SEO partners with offices and departments across campus to offer awards to a variety of student groups; visit ASB Awards and Sponsorship for more details.

For more information on all sources of funding, please contact Dwaine Taylor, the Student Development and Community Outreach Coordinator,

Who leads each project?

Each project is collaboratively led by two Team Leaders and two Team Advisors –  all of whom are Carleton University students and staff.

What is the total time commitment for student participants?

Student participants are selected by the end of October and there is approximately one ASB commitment every three weeks. Students attend three pre-departure orientation sessions, which allow them to develop as a team, participate in reflection activities, and learn more about their host community and the nature of their project. Students also participate in Campus to Community Days, team socials and, fundraising projects. ASB trips typically run for 7 days during the reading week in February. Afterwards, participants attend one final wrap-up session.

Do I have to come to the orientation/pre-departures?

Yes. Attendance at all ASB events is mandatory.

What if I can’t commit to participating in the whole Alternative Spring Break program?

A full commitment is necessary for participation in Alternative Spring Break. As there is often a waiting list to participate, students who do not fully participate will be in jeopardy of losing their position.

How much free time will I have during the week?

ASB is an immersive experiential-learning program. You will be working on a community-identified project or, in educational sessions during the day – and participating in reflection activities during the evenings. There will be time to relax, but no time for assignments or other projects.

You are also, not permitted to explore the destination on your own (even if you have experience travelling) – remember this is a group experience. That said, there are excursions and cultural activities planned for each trip, that allow the group to explore the community together.

I am a Carleton University student and I’m interested in participating. Where can I get more information?

Please visit our application page. Alternatively, stop by the Student Experience Office at 430 Tory Building and speak with Dwaine Taylor, the Student Development and Community Outreach Coordinator.

How are participants selected for projects?

Participants apply online to the Alternative Spring Break program. The applications are reviewed, and selected applicants are contacted for a group interview.

Teams are created based on a variety of factors, including the location/ project preference as indicated on the participants’ applications, the size of the project, and having a balance of students who represent differing programs, years of study, and previous experience. Traditionally, each team is comprised of 10-16 student participants.

I am a graduate student, can I participate?

Unfortunately, only current undergraduate students can apply to be participants. However, graduate students are encouraged to apply for the Team Advisor role.

I’ve already participated in ASB. Can I apply again?

You are welcome to submit an application to be a participant; however, preference is given to students who have not participated in ASB in the past. As a past participant, you may be interested in the Team Leader role.

Can I get course credit for participating in an Alternative Spring Break project?

At this time, you cannot get course credit for participating in Alternative Spring Break. That said, some participants have worked with professors to submit reflections about their experience, in place of traditional course assessments.

You can add ASB to your Co-Curricular Record and, it’s a great experience to list on a resume.

I’m a Carleton University faculty or staff member and interested in getting involved in Alternative Spring Break. Where can I get more information?

Please visit our application page to see how you can get involved. You can also contact Dwaine Taylor, the Student Development and Community Outreach Coordinator, to discuss how you can be involved with ASB.