Alternative Breaks Program

The Drury Alternative Breaks Program encourages an increased understanding of social and environmental issues by engaging students in service and creating opportunities for the development of leadership and active citizenship skills. Thanks to the support of SGA, trips can remain affordable for students. We want every student to have the opportunity to go on an alternative break trip, whether it is during their fall or spring academic breaks.

On each trip, you will find:

  • Participants with diverse backgrounds and experiences
  • Strong direct service (an average of 15 hours over fall break and 30 hours over spring break)
  • Orientation, education, and training
  • Group reflection to better understand the social issue and lived experiences of others
  • Reorientation upon return to Springfield
  • A Drug- and alcohol-free experience
  • Eligible for 1 Engaged Learning graduation requirement

To maintain affordable trips, we stay in volunteer housing, community centers, or churches; This may mean using air mattresses and sleeping bags or staying in bunk rooms. Most meals are also prepared by the group in the housing facility’s kitchen to save on food cost. To learn more about the upcoming trips, attend an information session:

  • Friday, January 18 at 12pm in the Hoblit Suite
  • Tuesday, January 22 at 4pm in FSC 204
  • Wednesday, January 23 at 12pm in FSC 204

Apply for Alternative Spring Break 2019

Application will close at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, February 3, 2019. Applicants are encouraged to attend an info session prior to submitting the application. 

Take a look:

  • Spring Break
  • Fall Break
  • Alternative Break Archive
  • Spring Break 2019

    Alternative Spring Break trips allow students to immerse in another culture for a week. During this time, students may be staying in a church or community building, interacting with people whose cultures differ from their own, and living in a way that they may be unaccustomed to living. These trips can count towards an Engaged Learning credit for graduation and involve about 30-35 hours of community service work with nonprofit organizations.

    Dates: March. 9-16, 2019

    Cost: $50 (includes housing, travel, service, free-time activities, and some meals)

    For more information, please email

     Applications for Spring Break 2019 will open January 14, 2019 and close January 27, 2019.

    Trip Options: 

    Animal Welfare in Savannah, TN

    Located in Hardin County, Horse Creek Wildlife Sanctuary and Animal Refuge includes over 2,000 acres devoted to the conservation of native wildlife and provides shelter and adoption services for abandoned and abused dogs. During this trip, we will learn about principles of animal welfare and serve in the shelter and on the property.

    Sustainable Community Building in New Orleans, LA

    More than 10 years after Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans is still rebuilding. We will explore sustainable, equitable community building in a vibrant city and serve with organizations working to revitalize the city through various community development projects.

    Unpacking Urban Poverty in Detroit, MI

    Whether you know it as Motown, Hockeytown, or Motor City—Detroit carries a lot of baggage in the nation’s mind. But this is not the whole story. Join us in Detroit as we serve with Cass Community Social Services and unpack the myths and realities of urban poverty.

  • Fall Break 2019

    Alternative Fall Breaks include about 15 hours of community service working with nonprofit organizations in a community within 6 hours of the Springfield campus. Trips will typically depart from campus Wednesday evening and return on Sunday. Participating in an Alternative Fall Break is a great way to learn about a social issue in a shorter time.

    FALL BREAK 2019
    Join us in St. Louis as we serve with local nonprofit organizations and learn about the city. More information to come!

     Dates: Oct. 16-20, 2019

    Cost: $20 (includes housing, travel, service, free-time activities, and some meals)

    For more information, please email


  • Alternative Break Archive

    Fall 2018

    Children & Families in Memphis, TN

    In Memphis we partnered with Hope House to volunteer in their preschool and learn about the impact of HIV on families. At Youth Villages, we worked with teens at a residential behavioral health facility.

    Spring 2018

    Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery (New Orleans, LA)

    We worked with the United Saints Recovery Project to assist communities that have suffered from natural disasters by helping residents return home, improve their quality of life, and strengthen their communities. We worked on home reconstruction projects, served with ARC of Greater New Orleans and Animal Rescue New Orleans, and participated in a neighborhood cleanup. We will be returning to New Orleans in spring 2019.

    Animal Welfare and Environmental Preservation (Savannah, TN)

    We worked with Horse Creek Wildlife Sanctuary and Animal Refuge in Hardin County, Tennessee on 2,000 acres of land. The goal of this organization is to provide shelter, medical care, and adoption services for abandoned and abused dogs. We volunteered around the kennel areas holding and walked dogs through the paved trail, and generally helped socialize the rescues. We will be returning to Horse Creek Wildlife Sanctuary and Animal Refuge in spring 2019.

    Spring 2017

    Vail, CO

    The Colorado group spent their week working across the whole Vail Valley, partnering with the Roundup River Ranch and the Vail Valley Foundation. The Roundup River Ranch is a summer camp for children age 7-17 that are diagnosed with serious (and sometimes terminal) illnesses to come together and just be kids and enjoy the time of kids going through the same thing they are. The camp had a big inspection the week we were there to gain approval for expanding the camp. We helped prepare the entire camp by cleaning, organizing, and getting the premises up to code. Our help allowed them to get 100% on their inspection and their expansion was improved. The Vail Valley foundation focuses on education, arts, and sports in the Vail Valley and raises a lot of money for impoverished families. We worked with the education side of thing preparing for events they had coming up, creating education activities for their after school programming, and preparing a garden for spring planting.

    Memphis, TN

    The Tennessee group spent their time in Memphis, TN partnering with Living Lands and Waters and Bellevue Frayser Baptist Church. Living Lands and Waters is an organization that focuses its time and effort on cleaning up trash along the Mississippi River Basin and in the river. The group spent four days going out on boats and cleaning up trash in and along the river. At the end of the week the group picked up 64,485 pounds of trash alongside other universities that were also there for their spring break. The group also volunteered with a local church, Bellevue Frayser Baptist Church, in return for the church housing them for the week. At the church they painted walls in classrooms, recreation rooms, and hallways.

    Fall 2016

    Little Rock, AR

    Students on this trip completed service projects with the Arkansas Children's hospital. They explored a variety of community issues including environmental upkeep, and gained awareness and understanding of the struggles families face with children with illnesses.

    Spring 2016

    Detroit, MI

    Students on this trip explored a variety of issues within the Detroit community, including food, housing, healthcare, and jobs from an urban perspective. Participants worked with Cass Community Social Services and completed a wide variety of service projects with this organization. The service projects were centered around the day-to-day operations of Cass and included projects such as volunteering at a soup kitchen, painting/landscaping/recycling, working with adults with developmental disabilities, and activities with the homeless children and youth. Students got to see a lot of the city and come out with a holistic idea of what urban development looks like.

    Selma, AL

    Students on this trip explored the historic importance that Selma held during the civil rights movement. In particular, the marches from Selma to Montgomery in 1965.  For service activities, the group partnered with Blackbelt & Central Alabama Housing. Participants got to stay in the home of the director of the housing association who has close ties to individuals who participated in the 1965 marches with Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Fall 2015

    St. Louis, MO

    Students completed service projects with Angels' Arms, Epworth, and St. Vincent Home for Children in order to better understand the lives of children in foster care and foster families.

    Spring 2015

    Chicago, IL

    Students worked with various nonprofits in the Chicago area to learn about many social issues. Partners included: Center on Halsted, All Stars Project of Chicago, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, Inspiration Kitchens, Gardeneers, PAWS, Impact Engine, and YouTopia. Housing was provided by University Church.

    New Orleans, LA

    Students worked with Common Ground Relief on wetlands restoration projects throughout the week.

    Spring 2014

    Twin Lakes State Park, VA

    Participants worked at this state park alongside the park rangers to maintain various trails and clear brush.

    Washington, DC

    This trip was dedicated to learning about urban farming and homelessness. The participants worked with DC Central Kitchen, which is a homeless shelter that utilizes an urban farm for its meals. They also worked with City Blossoms and Common Good City Farm, both urban farming programs.

    Spring 2013

    Denver, CO

    Students worked with the African Community Center, which provides African refugees with the resources they need to build safe, sustainable lives in Denver.