Florida State Alternative Breaks FAQ

When are this year’s trips taking place?

Our 2018 trips will take place during MLK Weekend (January 12-15, 2018) and Spring Break (March 10-17, 2018). Spring Break trips have a duration of three to seven nights; please check individual trip descriptions to see exact dates.

What social issues and community partners will you be working with?

Please see our 2018 Trips page to learn more about our trip offerings this year.

How much does the trip cost? What does the price include?

Our MLK trips cost $100, and our Spring Break trips range from $150 to $200. Participants will need to pay their balance in full before the end of fall semester in order to keep their spot on their trip. While this cost covers all transportation, lodging, and food, participants are encouraged to bring extra money in case of any optional spending opportunities, including activities on the “free day” during which participants spend time in the community.

What will I be doing during my FSAB experience?

FSAB works with community partners to design a week of quality, direct service. Participants should read the trip descriptions for a specific understanding of projects and activities during the week. In addition to a significant amount of service each day, participants should expect to engage in developmental activities, workshops, documentary viewings, and other program components designed to promote active citizenship.

How will we get to our service site?

The FSAB program fees include transportation to the service site via van. Participants are required to travel with the group to the service site during every part of the trip—departure from FSU, during the week, and when returning to FSU. Participants are not permitted to leave the trip early or arrange other travel to return to FSU. Participants must sign a waver agreeing to honor the transportation guidelines and expectations.

Are there any scholarships or fundraising opportunities available?

Yes. Our student coordinators leading each trip are trained to facilitate fundraising efforts to lower the cost of the trip. While some fundraising will be practiced in a group, participants are encouraged to fundraise individually if needed. Participants are encouraged to identify multiple sources of funding in the event that fundraising efforts are not able to cover the balance needed.

What should I pack?

The student coordinators will provide each participant with a packing list prior to the trip’s departure. The packing list will be specific to the needs of each service site and housing accommodations.

What if I don’t know anyone on my trip?

It is perfectly fine (and encouraged!) to apply for a trip without knowing anyone. FSAB is designed to create community among participants prior to spring break, so by the time the trip begins, the group will already be familiar and comfortable with one another. Many participants who have had this experience will attest that meeting an entirely new group of people enhanced their college experience and help them develop friendships with people they might ordinarily have not interacted with.

What are the requirements to be an FSAB participant?

All participants will need to pay for their trip in full prior to the end of fall semester. In December, participants must attend the Participant Kickoff in order to learn more about alternative breaks and the overall trip experience. Participants are also required to attend four separate group meetings with their teams: (1) an educational event about the social issue they are working with, (2) a social event in order to create community among the participants, (3) a service project with a local Tallahassee agency with the same social issue area on which the trip is focused, and (4) a pre-departure meeting with the team immediately before the trip begins. After the trip, participants are expected to participate in the reunion event held in late March.

Am I allowed to use drugs and alcohol during my FSAB trip?

No. FSAB enforces a very strict drug and alcohol policy, even for students who are over the age of 21. Participants sign a waiver prior to departure agreeing to these terms and conditions. If participants are known to be using drugs or alcohol during the trip, they will be immediately dismissed from the trip and must incur the costs of transportation on their own, in addition to facing disciplinary action from the university.

Why does the drug and alcohol policy exist?

FSAB seeks to create a community among participants during their trip. We believe alcohol and other drugs interfere with the alternative break in the following ways: (1) Group dynamics: Not all members of the trip are 21, and it is illegal for students under 21 years of age to purchase or be in possession of alcoholic beverages. We aim to prevent feelings of isolation among students who are not able to legally engage in this behavior. (2) Respect for host communities: Certain trips may serve populations with a personal connection to the issues of alcoholism or substance abuse. (3) Legal considerations: The use of illegal drugs places both the users and the community at legal risk. Given that this week is focused on serving the community and creating sustainable relationships, the use of alcohol and other drugs is inappropriate.

If you have any questions not addressed in this list, please contact Juan Mendizabal, FSAB program coordinator, at jmendizabal@fsu.edu.
 

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