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APPLES 2012 civil right alternative spring breakThe Alternative Spring Break (ASB) program takes place in the spring semester through both classroom interaction and an immersive experience for during spring break in March. For spring 2021, the exact dates of the ASB experience will be updated based on guidance from the University.

The learning begins before spring break as participants attend classroom sessions designed to prepare them to engage in discussion and service centered on their chosen focus area. In this two-credit hour, pass/fail course (HBEH 610), students examine theories behind community service, coalition building, community asset development as well as specific needs and assets of the communities where they volunteer. This is a mandatory course meeting weekly for a total of two hours (one hour of lecture and one hour of recitation). The spring 2021 course will meet remote and synchronous, Tuesdays at 5 p.m. Recitations will be planned by each trip based on the group’s schedule.

During the break, students apply what they are learning about the focus areas and communities at different sites through direct and indirect service as well as advocacy work. An emphasis is placed on reflection throughout the experience and following the students’ return.

APPLES sponsors five ASB experiences on the following topics:
  • Latinx Communities: Students explore issues affecting migrant workers and Latinx communities in North Carolina including immigration policy, labor rights, farmworker conditions, COVID-19, and access to healthcare.
  • Rural Communities: Students work with local organizations to gain a better understanding of education, health and infrastructure issues that affect rural communities in North Carolina.
  • Urban Communities: Participants learn about poverty and homelessness in a larger urban area. Issues explored in previous trips include hunger and food access, addiction and health.
  • Civil Rights: Participants explore a wide variety of current civil and human rights issues, ranging from the Black Lives Matter movement, gender equality, voter disenfranchisement, and LGBTQ+ rights.
  • COVID-19 Response (adapted from disaster recovery): Students will explore COVID-19 as a disaster, looking at the healthcare system, disproportionately affected communities, and mental health

When applying, students may indicate their preference.

2020-2021 Alternative Spring Break Timeline

Oct. 19, 2020: Participant application opens
Nov. 7 2020: Participant application closes
Nov. 16, 2020: Participants and alternates notified
Jan. 19, 2021: ASB course and recitations begin
March 2021: ASB experiences occur during spring semester based on updates to spring break.


Applications are currently closed.

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

The Carolina Center for Public Service at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is committed to providing reasonable accommodations for its events and programs. If you need accommodations, please contact or call 919-962-0902. Every reasonable effort will be made to implement accommodations in an effective and timely manner.