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Alternative Break

Alternative Break Program

Western Oregon University’s Alternative Break Program connects students with transformative hands-on experiences. WOU students partner with volunteer and community organizations to make a tangible difference in areas of social and cultural concern throughout our local and global communities.

Students gain important insights such as:

  • The value of heightened social awareness
  • The importance of lifelong active citizenship
  • The promotion of advocacy of social change within communities


Open Applications

Team Leaders for Winter Break 2018 – International Teams

Read more on our Winter 2018 page to learn about the service sites and projects, understand team leader responsibilities and expectations, and find instructions on how to apply.

Service Projects

Friends of Pimpollo – Oaxaca, Mexico

Students Helping Honduras – El Progreso, Honduras


Eligibility to Lead a Team

  1. prior participation as an alternative break team member or leader
  2. available to attend an overnight retreat Friday, April 6 – Saturday April 7
  3. good academic standing
  4. good judicial standing


Recruitment Timeline

(updated 2.12.18)

Applications Open: Monday, February 5 – Monday, February 19

Application Review: Tuesday, February 20 – Friday, March 2

Interviews: Monday, March 5 – Wednesday, March 14

Teams Leader Selection: Announced by Wednesday, March 21

If selected, team leaders are required to attend a training retreat. Dates of training, Friday, April 6 – Saturday, April 7. *this is an overnight retreat


Upcoming Applications


Team Members for Winter Break 2018

Applications will open at the beginning of Spring term 2018

Eligibility to Participate as a Team Member


  1. Enrollment: Students must be currently enrolled at Western Oregon University (for summer teams, students who graduated the prior Spring term are eligible)
  2. Academic Standing: Students must be in good academic standing
  3. Judicial Standing: Students must be in good judicial standing

*this applies for all terms from application to team departure


Site Locations Explained


  1. Regional: locations within a 10 hour driving radius (past examples: Salem, Portland, Reno, Boise, Seattle)
  2. National: locations within the United States that require air travel (past examples: Colorado, Tennessee)
  3. International: locations outside of the United States (past examples: Honduras, Costa Rica, Vietnam, Kenya)




Eli Cox, WOU ’14

Looking back at his time at WOU, [Eli] Cox credits two factors for his success in his field and in life. The first is the faculty in the health department….The second key ingredient in Cox’s recipe for success was service learning. In his time at WOU, he took several trips abroad to help indigenous people with basic services. “The people on those trips became my community, which was what I needed,” he said. “I loved being actively engaged, getting to see the direct impact of our work. It really helped me get a better understanding of myself and of life.” Read more of Eli’s experiences and impact in WOU Stories
(Cox (center) poses in 2013 with team members during a service learning trip to India.)




Call: (503) 838-8716 | Email: alternativebreak@wou.edu  | Visit: Werner University Center 119

My favorite aspect of this program was that it gave me the opportunity to do what I love best, and that is working hands on with underserved populations and with this, I have created so many connections with those who I have served internationally and the connections and memories I have made will carry me through the rest of my life.

Kaylyn Taylor


My trip was very eye-opening and overall a great experience!

Team Member


I want to keep experiencing other cultures and learn why cultures are different and how we can benefit each other.

Team Member