Florida State Alternative Breaks FAQ

When are this year’s alternative breaks taking place?

FSAB will not be sponsoring any alternative breaks during the 2020-2021 academic year. We hope to begin sponsoring alternative breaks during the Fall 2021 term.

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

The topics of each alternative break are determined by Experience Facilitators in their Experience Proposal, reviewed by the Programming Team. FSAB members are encouraged to visit the experience proposal discussion board on Canvas to gauge program-wide interest in specific experience topics and to organize with one another regarding potential future experience topics. Previous experiences have focused service on:

  • Classism/Poverty (food insecurity, housing insecurity)
  • Racism
  • Sexism (including sex trafficking)
  • Health (including HIV/AIDs awareness)
  • Xenophobia (including migrant detention)
  • Ableism
  • Environmental Justice

Due to FSAB’s mission of providing accessible, short-term, immersive service experiences, community partners must be located within 600 miles (10 hours) driving distance of Tallahassee and be secular or religiously inclusive in nature. FSAB does not sponsor international or domestic-flying experiences. Additionally, FSAB discourages working with youth-focused community partners – given the often-transient nature of our individual-level relationships.

How much does an average alternative break cost? What does the price include?

Most alternative breaks cost about $200 per participant. FSAB works with the University to post program charges to student accounts. Participants will need to pay their balance in full by the dates communicated within the application in order to keep their spot on their service experience. 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. 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 experience—departure from FSU, during the week, and when returning to FSU. Participants are not permitted to leave the experience early or arrange other travel to return to FSU. Participants must sign a waiver agreeing to honor the transportation guidelines and expectations.

What should I pack?

The Experience Facilitators will provide each participant with a packing list prior to 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 alternative break?

It is perfectly fine (and encouraged!) to apply for an alternative break without knowing anyone. FSAB is designed to create community among participants prior to departure, so by the time the alternative break 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 helped them develop friendships with people they might ordinarily have not interacted with.

What are the requirements to be an FSAB participant?

All alternative break participants must first be members of FSAB. Prior to departure alternative break participants must 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 alternative break is focused, and (4) a pre-departure meeting with the team immediately before the trip break begins. Participants are also expected to attend the annual FSAB banquet in April. All members of FSAB, regardless of their participation in an alternative break are invited to attend.

Am I allowed to use drugs and alcohol during my alternative break?

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 alternative break, they will be immediately dismissed from the break and must incur the costs of transportation on their own, in addition to facing potential disciplinary action from the university.

Why does the drug and alcohol policy exist?

FSAB seeks to create a community among participants during their experience. 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 breaks 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 all alternative breaks 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 David Bateman-Schieler, FSAB program coordinator, at dschieler@fsu.edu.You may also reach out to FSAB graduate assistant Olivia Brown at obrown2@fsu.edu. The Programming Team is available at fsualtbreaks@gmail.com.

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