9  participants + 2 site leaders + 1 University Partner = one great week of fun and service!

Michigan State University Alternative Spartan Breaks (MSU ASB) is an organization where a group of college students go on a trip to engage in direct service, typically for a week. Each trip has a focus on a particular social issue, and immersion in that issue begins long before the trip itself. Students educate themselves and each other, then do hands-on work with relevant organizations. These experiences challenge them to think critically and compassionately—and to understand that there’s no such thing as “not my problem.” Upon return, participants are empowered to make more informed decisions and to take meaningful action that supports a greater good. Through MSU Alternative Spartan Breaks, we hope to foster the personal growth of contributing members of society. Alternative breaks are the "what" of our organization, but active citizenship is our shared "why.”

The Active Citizen Continuum is the driving force behind what we do at MSU ASB, and why it's so important to us that alternative break programs incorporate the Eight Components. Alternative breaks get work done that needs to be done. They build capacity with communities that are struggling with social issues. And they make real impact on individuals, too.


MSU ASB sends three types of trips: international (flying), domestic (driving or flying) and weekend. Just about every expense is covered in our trip cost: transportation (van rental, gas, toll fees, flights), food, supplies, housing, service site fees and first aid. Domestic winter and spring break trips cost $400 (for a driving trip) and $1300 (for a trip that requires a flight) per participant. International trips are $1400, including flight cost, per participant. Weekend trips cost $50. We offer extensive fundraising and scholarship opportunities for participants in an effort to alleviate much of these trip costs.

Choosing a trip:

In order to select which trip you would like to participate in, please refer to the “Trips” tab. There you can find a description of all of the trips that are planned for this year. MSU ASB does not disclose the location of trips until the kick-off party, an event we hold to allow participants to meet the other members of their group.  To be an active citizen, we believe that the social issue and the service that is performed is the most important part of attending an Alternative Break.  Our goal is to have a program full of people genuinely interested in doing service work for a week.

Site Leader vs. Participants:

There are multiple roles within each break. Undergraduate students have the opportunity to be either a participant or a site leader. Each play a vital role in the making of a great alternative break. The roles of each include the following: 

Participant: Participate in 3 pre-trip meetings as decided upon by the site leaders. Participate in break-specific fundraiser and a pre-trip service project. Participate in week long service trip. Participate in post-trip service and a reorientation event.

Site Leader: *Previous experience with MSU ASB is preferred, but not necessary* Site leaders will co-lead a week-long MSU ASB service trip.The general responsibilities of an MSU ASB Site Leader may include but are not limited to: Attending weekly site leader training meetings, planning 3 pre-trip meetings with participants, participating in our Adopt-a-Breaker fundraiser, initiating pre-trip education, participating and being responsible for a week-long service trip, planning post-trip service, attending MSU ASB reorientation event, attending site leader retreat, being the main contact with service and housing sites and being main contact for all participants on your trip. 

Students who are looking for leadership opportunities are strongly encouraged to apply for a site leader position. Students who may not have the time commitment for weekly site leader meetings but still have a passion for activism are strongly encouraged to apply to be participants.

verifying hours:

ASB appreciates all the hard work each breaker puts into their service and are happy to verify hours. Follow the link below to our verification form. Please fill out the form at least 2 weeks prior to the time frame the letter is needed. Click here for the verification request form.