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Alternative winter break participants

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 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 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 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 areas and communities at different sites through direct and indirect service as well as advocacy work. An emphasis is placed on 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.  There is a $75 non-refundable fee associated with Alternative Winter Breaks.  Need-based financial assistance may be available upon request.

APPLES sponsors AWB experiences in the following focus areas:

Hunger and Homelessness: Participants work with nonprofits surrounding food justice and homelessness in North Carolina. Through working with these organizations and local community members, students gain a better understanding of food insecurity, the importance of reducing food waste and how we can make a positive impact on these issues.

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.

Disaster Recovery: An experience that can vary based on storm season, disaster relief participants explore many aspects of disaster management including policy, access to aid and rebuilding efforts.

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.

Refugee Communities: Participants will learn more about refugee populations in North Carolina through direct service and educational programming.

When applying, students may indicate their preference.

2019 Alternative Winter Break Timeline

Sept. 16: Participant application opens
Oct. 11: Participant application closes
Oct. 14: Finalists selected for interview
Oct. 21-25: Applicant interviews
Oct. 28: Participants and alternates notified
Dec. 1: Participant orientation (tentative)
Dec. 14-20: Alternative Winter Break
Jan. 12: Winter break re-orientation (tentative)


Applications for AWB are now 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.