University of Delaware Alternative Breaks

What are Alternative Breaks?

Alternative breaks are immersive service opportunities that offer students a break from their academic routines to engage in service and learn about new communities. Students also make new friends and create lasting memories with teammates.

In pre-departure preparation, participants learn about the communities they are serving Post-program reorientation allows participants to reflect on their alternative break experience and how it will shape their future.

University of Delaware Alternative Breaks (UDAB)’s mission as an alternative breaks program is to create a variety of issue-based, service-learning experiences during spring and winter breaks.

We strive to be accessible to all undergraduate university students as both a facilitator of these break programs and as an advisor for other student groups that would like to plan, participate in and reflect on service.

several students strike silly poses as they exit a food bank where they've served

Winter Alternative Break in Puerto Rico!

Disaster Relief and Environmental Justice

Community Collaborations International, Fajardo, Puerto Rico

Join other service- and social justice-minded individuals and apply for UD Alternative Break’s annual winter service program! Partnering with Community Collaborations International, 25 UD students will travel to Puerto Rico during Winter Session to work on disaster relief and environmental justice service projects valuable to local communities. Prepare for an amazing week of bonding with your peers and experience learning about social justice issues firsthand! Most of all, participants will leave Puerto Rico feeling inspired to make tangible sustainability and disaster relief-based change in their local community. The trip cost is yet to be finalized but will most likely range between $1600 – $1800. Grants are available based on financial need!

Site Leaders: Brian Chansky, Jalen Rogers and Nathan Vaszily

This program has now closed.

2024 Winter Break Program Dates:

Tuesday, January 16–
Friday, January 26, 2024

Check out our 2023 experience!

Spring Programs

Addressing Rural Poverty in Appalachia

Appalachia Service Project, Jonesville, VA

Appalachia Service Project (ASP) brings volunteers from around the nation to work alongside the community in rural Central Appalachia to repair homes for families in low income communities. ASP aims to make homes safer, warmer and drier for homeowners while fostering a spirit of love, acceptance and hopefulness to respond to the community’s need for adequate housing. ASP encourages people to act responsibly in the face of human need and injustice. Participants will work with local community members in Jonesville, VA, on housing projects using hard skills to build sufficient housing. They will also examine the underlying structures and systems related to rural poverty and housing insecurity.

Site Leaders: Danielle Blachar and Gabriel Ma

Restoring the Chesapeake Bay:
Exploring Environmental Justice

Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Annapolis, MD

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) fights to restore the Chesapeake Bay through effective, science-based solutions to the pollution of the bay and its tributaries. CBF’s motto and guiding mission is “Save the Bay.” This mantra is a call to action for the residents of Chesapeake’s six-state, 64,000 mile watershed to protect the more than 18 million people and 3,000 species of plants and animals which call the Chesapeake Bay watershed home. Participants will engage in direct service by planting and maintaining forested buffer, shaking and seeding oyster shells in CBF’s oyster restoration efforts and working at CBF’s sustainable farm, Clagett Farms. Participants will discuss the intricacies of bay restoration efforts and connect it to larger issues of environmental justice.

Site Leaders: Sophia Caamano and Autumn  Newman

Unpacking Nutritional Access:
Food Insecurity and Chronic Illness

Community Servings, Boston, MA

Community Servings is a not-for-profit food and nutrition program throughout Massachusetts and Rhode Island that provides services for individuals and families living with critical and chronic illnesses. Community Servings’ goals are to help our clients maintain their health and dignity and to preserve the integrity of their families through culturally appropriate, home-delivered meals, nutrition education, and other community programs. Participants will be working in Community Servings’ kitchen and other local food pantries where they will prepare and package meals to be delivered to the community. They will learn more about issues of food insecurity, nutritional access, and building interdependent communities.

Site Leaders: Ellena Adams and Richard Oboryshko

Deconstructing Systems:
Housing Insecurity in New Bern, NC

Habitat for Humanity, New Bern, NC

Habitat for Humanity aims to provide decent, affordable housing for families and to support sustainable and transformative development. Habitat strives to build homes and communities and to promote the dignity and agency of homeowners. Homeowners build their own homes alongside volunteers and receive an affordable mortgage. Participants will assist in the construction of homes in the area of New Bern, NC. They will perform hard skills tasks to build more affordable housing for individuals and families experiencing economic inequality. Participants will discuss and reflect on the systems and policies that contribute to housing insecurity and economic disparities.

**Must be enrolled in BHLP in order to participate**

Site Leaders: Olivia Hayes and Kate Knesek

Reopening Doors to Opportunity:
Providing Support and Developing Community

H.O.M.E., Orland, ME

H.O.M.E. is an organization in Orland, ME, that helps to address the needs of people who have fallen on challenging times by honoring their dignity; attending to such basic needs as food and shelter, supporting their long-term health and development, and fostering a vibrant and mutually supportive community. H.O.M.E works to provide services to the community including temporary housing for families, a daycare, a thrift shop, and soup kitchen. Participants could work on various projects that include constructing houses, harvesting wood, shelter work, and more. Throughout the program, participants will discuss the various personal, social and legal complications that individuals in poverty face.

Site Leaders: Mia Sebak and Jackson Tomasco


How do I apply?

Apply Here!

This takes you directly to our application page through the Center for Global Programs and Services platform. If you have not applied before, the link will take you to a new application. If you begin an application and leave it in draft, when you visit the link again, it will take you to your dashboard. Your existing draft application should be listed there.

How much does it cost?

The Winter Puerto Rico program cost will range between $1,500 to $1,800 before financial aid/grants. The Spring programs will range from $350 to $500 before financial aid/grants. Site leaders for the programs will communicate final costs (before financial aid) to perspective participants. All applicants are charged a $50 application fee, however, financial aid can also be applied to this charge.

What is included in the program cost?

Everything! All lodging, food, transportation, supplies and partner fees are included in the program cost. You would only need to cover elective personal purchases.

How do I apply for financial aid and grants?

You don’t! All participants are considered for financial aid based on their FAFSA. A percentage of your program charges, according to your level of need determined by your FAFSA, will be covered by grant funds.

If you need additional assistance after your grant funds have been applied, or do not have a FAFSA on file with UD, contact our program advisor, Amelia Carte.

Are there other ways to reduce the fee?

There sure are! UDAB works to support all participants in fundraising efforts through various events and activities. In 2023, UDAB had a successful crowdfunding campaign on UD’s HenFunder platform.

What happens if I am accepted into a program, but can no longer participate?

Students who can no longer attend their UDAB Program and would like to request that they not be charged for their program must adhere to the following policy. If a replacement can be found for their spot on a program, they will not be charged unless there are unavoidable penalties (ticket name change, etc). All students requesting a charge reversal must write a letter to the program advisor, Amelia Carte, of 200 words or less explaining why a reversal should be granted.

If approved, all scholarships are revoked and fee reversals will be applied according to this schedule:

  • 60+ days before departure, responsible for non-refundable program fee
  • 59 – 30 days before departure, responsible for half of trip costs and non-refundable program fee
  • <29 days before departure no refund, fully responsible for trip costs


Extenuating circumstances that prevent you from fully participating will be considered.

Can I apply to both a winter and a spring program?

Yes! Please do! You may participate in programs during both breaks.

How do I get more involved in UDAB?

There are numerous ways to get more involved!

  • After participating in a program, you can apply for UDAB Leadership (applications are typically released in late April).
  • Apply to participate in more programs in the upcoming fall semester.
  • Participate in UDAB’s various days of service and active citizenship events.

Email for details about these opportunities.

Participant Testimonials

I never thought that I would get to meet so many awesome people in one week. Coming out of this experience, it feels like we were friends for a while and not strangers coming into this experience.

Nathan Vaszily

three students pose while sitting on a grassy field

UDAB was one of the best weeks of my life. Not only did I feel like I made a huge impact on the community, but I made the most amazing friends along the way.

Mia Sebak

My participation in the UDAB New Bern program was unlike anything I have experienced before. You can spend forever sitting in a meeting room and discussing inequities in housing, but you will never truly be able to understand the affordable housing crisis until you are immersed in the environment itself.

Danielle Blachar