AWOL Alternative Break Application
Thank you for your interest in USD's AWOL Alternative Break program. Please read the application information and expectations before applying.

The Application Process:

The AWOL program has a competitive application process as there are generally more applicants than spots available. The written application is used to place applicants; the AWOL Board aims to create a diverse mix of participants (academic year, discipline area, experience level, etc.), as well as provide the maximum number of people an opportunity to participate. Successful applicants demonstrate in their application a willingness to learn, to contribute to the group, to be flexible, and to embrace new opportunities. Successful applicants show commitment to the program requirements and values of the organization. Applicants that have completed an application will be invited for a brief placement meeting so that we can get to know you a little better and you can ask questions about the program.

After the written application and meeting cycle closes, each applicant is reviewed. Within 3-5 days, you will be contacted about your status. You will either be placed in a group and asked to accept or decline your spot, or placed on a alternate/wait list. If you choose to decline your spot, you may opt to be added to a wait list of your choice. Alternates will be contacted as spots become available. If you are not placed in one of your top choices, this is not necessarily a reflection of your ability to be a great member of that team, just a consequence of a limited number of spots.

Only complete applications will be considered.  Note that there are several short answer questions that ask you to discuss why you are interested in the alternative break program, prior service experience, and future service goals. It is recommended that you complete the application when you have ample time to answer the questions.


Alternative breaks involve time and commitment; potentially more than other service trips that you have done. Your team will have five mandatory one-hour pre-departure meetings to learn about the social issue and conduct team building activities. Each student is also expected to attend the AWOL Alternative Break kickoff event and a reorientation event. To help make this opportunity accessible to a wider population, each team member will also be expected to contribute to fundraising hours; students will then receive a fundraising credit based on how much is raised overall.

During the break, students must understand that they are committing to a week of community service that generally includes 30-35 hours of direct service work. Additionally, you will be engaged in learning opportunities and daily group reflections related to the service experience. Team members are expected to participate in all planned activities as a group. There is some down-time during the week, but no scheduled free time during which students would be permitted to leave and do other activities on their own.

Finally, Alternative Breaks are drug and alcohol free. Students are required to agree to this policy.
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