Alternative Fall Break

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Alternative Fall Break (AFB) programs provide an opportunity for students to learn and serve outside the UNC community over fall break, a four-day period when the university is closed during October. The learning begins before the break experience, as participants attend orientation sessions  designed to prepare them for the challenges and issues they will confront. During the break, students collaborate with community service partners in various capacities, engaging in both direct and indirect service as well as advocacy work.

An emphasis is placed on trip reflection throughout the trip and following the students’ return. After the completion of the four day experience, participants attend a reorientation program to share experiences across breaks and consider ways to build on lessons learned. Students are encouraged to continue building friendships and their engagement in the local community through service and social events throughout the year. Please note, AFB does not have an academic course connection, and therefore does not fulfill the experiential education requirement.  There is a non-refundable fee associated with Alternative Fall Breaks.  Need-based financial assistance may be available upon request.

APPLES sponsors AFB experiences in six focus areas:

Urban Communities: Participants are immersed in an urban community exploring topics including, but not limited to, hunger and food access, addiction and health.

Latino Communities: Participants interact with migrant workers and Latino communities in North Carolina by exploring topics such as labor rights, pesticide use and access to healthcare.

Rural Communities: Participants are immersed in a rural community setting to gain a better understanding of the challenges facing a North Carolina population experiencing poverty.

Environmental Issues: Contingent upon the needs of the community, participants have the opportunity to more fully understand the challenges facing environments in North Carolina and assist with current efforts. Some past topics include, but are not limited to, sea turtle conservancy, hog farming and river pollution.

Arts in Public Service: In partnership with Carolina Performing Arts, APPLES participants have the opportunity to learn how the arts play an important role in a community’s identity and witness efforts at maintaining cultural traditions and knowledge. They will also be able to see the impact of the arts as a mechanism for improving student engagement and learning.

Service-Learning Initiative: Participation in this break experience is limited to students who previously participated in APPLES SLI (a pre-orientation for first-year and transfer students) in the same year as the break program. Students will build on their community engagement experience through SLI by exploring a variety of challenges facing Appalachian communities in North Carolina and Tennessee.

When applying, students may indicate their preference. To be considered for the SLI alternative break, students must have previously been a part of the SLI program. Alternative Fall Break applications are closed.

2015 Alternative Fall Break Timeline

Aug. 18: Participant application opens
Sept. 14: Participant application closes
Sept. 19: Applicants notified about selection for interview
Sept. 21-25: Applicant interviews
Sept. 30: Notification of final selection
Oct. 3: Participant orientation
Oct. 14-18: Alternative Fall Break
Oct. 25: Fall break participant re-orientation


Applications for the 2015 Alternative Fall Break program were open from Aug. 18 – Sept. 14.

Please note eligibility is only open to students who have not participated on an APPLES Service-Learning Alternative Break previously.

Applications for break leader positions open in the spring semester.