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.

The learning begins before the break experience, as participants attend an orientation session designed to prepare them for the challenges and issues they will confront. 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.

During the 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 trip and following the students’ return. At the beginning of the spring semester after students return to campus, 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 during the spring semester and beyond. Please note, AWB does not have an academic course connection, and therefore does not fulfill the experiential education requirement.

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.

2015 Alternative Winter Break Timeline

September 15: Participant application opens
October 5: Participant application closes
October 8: Finalists selected for interview
October 10-13 or 19-21: Applicant interviews
October 23: Participants and alternates notified
November 14: Participant orientation
December 12-18: Alternative Winter Break
January 24: Winter break re-orientation


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

Applications for break leader positions are available in the spring semester.