Alternative Winter Break

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Alternative Winter Break (AWB) typically lasts six days while the university is closed between the fall and spring semesters. This year, the APPLES Service-Learning program will offer four unique alternative winter break opportunities for UNC undergraduates. Students will spend six days working with experienced community partners and reflecting upon their learning experiences.

This year, APPLES Alternative Breaks has expanded the Alternative Winter Break program to better prepare participants for the break experience and introduce them to their chosen break focus area prior to departure. All students selected for APPLES Alternative Winter Breaks are expected to attend a participant orientation session on Saturday, November 8 from 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Break leaders will also host one social event and three learning experiences prior to departure, which may include small group discussion, guest speakers, documentary screenings, or other special programming. Break leaders will plan these experiences to accommodate participant schedules, and participants are asked to attend all sessions as their schedule allows. Please note, AWB does not have an academic course connection, and therefore does not fulfill the experiential education requirement. More information about this programming will be provided during applicant interviews.

During the six-day break experience, students apply what they are learning about the focus issues and communities at different sites through direct and indirect service as well as advocacy work. An emphasis is placed on trip reflection throughout the break and following the students’ return through a re-orientation session during the spring semester.

APPLES sponsors AWB experiences in the following focus areas:

GlobeMed Health and Equity: In partnership with GlobeMed at UNC and the Center for Aids Research (CFAR), students work with nonprofits contributing to HIV/AIDS prevention and testing, maternal and child health, and capacity building for low-income populations and discuss issues of poverty, health and social justice.

Rural Communities: Students work with local organizations to gain a better understanding of education, health and infrastructure issues that affect a low-income rural community in North Carolina.

Students for Education Reform (SFER): In partnership with Students for Education Reform, APPLES participants will have the opportunity to explore current topics in education, including youth mentoring, literacy, and college access, by engaging with a local school and education-based non-profits.

Violence Prevention: Students examine how intersections of social identities (i.e. gender, race, orientation, religion, etc.) affect one’s life chances and choices. They explore violence and its prevention, with a focus on issues related to gender-based violence.

When applying, students may indicate their preference.

2014 Alternative Winter Break Timeline

September 16: Participant application opens
October 6: Participant application closes
October 13: Finalists selected for interview
October 20-24: Applicant interviews
October 31: Participants and alternates notified
November 8: Participant orientation
December 13-19: Winter break


Applications for 2015-2016 Alternative Break leader positions are now open. Deadline is April 5.

Applications for the 2015 Alternative Winter Break program will open in the 2015 fall semester.