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Alternative Break Program (ABP)

Do you want to make a big difference in the lives of others during your breaks from school? Interested in visiting another city or region of the country?  ABP trips are organized to domestic locations to explore social justice themes. Trips help students think critically about their role in the global society through service, activism, inquiry and leadership.  Students are challenged to step out of their comfort zone while giving back.


RMU’s Alternative Break Program encourages students to become active citizens and life-long learners by immersing them in diverse communities throughout the country as they engage in hands-on service and critical reflection regarding the causes of and potential solutions to an array of challenging social justice issues.

  • Immerse participants in a new cultural context
  • Raise awareness about social justice issues, the structures that perpetuate them, and explore potential solutions
  • Engage participants in meaningful volunteer service
  • Connect the social justice issues addressed during the Alternative Break trips with social justice issues facing the Pittsburgh region, as well
  • Encourage personal reflection through the lens of service
The Alternative Break Program continues to evolve to reflect the interests of RMU students.  In recent years, groups of students and staff have traveled to:
  • Washington, D.C. to address hunger and homelessness by working in soup kitchens, homeless shelters, transitional housing units, and food pantries in partnership with Youth Service Opportunities Project 
  • Birmingham, Alabama, Concord, North Carolina and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to build affordable housing for the working poor with Habitat for Humanity
  • Atlanta, Georgia to do flood relief work
  • Appalachian Mountains in Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina and Ohio  to do home repair for elderly and low income rural residents
  • Northern New Jersey to do Hurricane Sandy relief work in partnership with United Way
There are two elements to the program - the volunteer service and reflection; and the immersion into the local community and culture.  It is our intent that students will begin to understand and think critically about social justice issues in context; their causes and potential solutions.

Interested in learning more?  Stop by the OSCE and talk with one of our staff.
Interested in participating?  Check back for an announcement
about our 2015 Alternative Spring Break trips.