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Max A. Shacknai COVE Alternative Breaks

Learning at Colgate does not stop when students go on break. Make the most of your time by volunteering for an alternative break, traveling domestically and internationally to engage in community service!
Habitat for Humanity workers in New Bern, North Carolina, lifting the beginnings of a wall

To Apply

Please fill out application electronically and e-mail it to Meghan Moran. Contact Meghan Moran at the Max Shacknai COVE with any questions, 315-228-6877 or e-mail.

Applications will be available in October.

Non-Profit Career Immersion Trip in New York, NY

November 23-25, 2014
The Max Shacknai Center for Outreach, Volunteerism and Education, Center for Career Services and the Common Good Professional Network will host a two-day, non profit immersion trip to NYC to give students an introduction to the non-profit sector. Applications are at the COVE (109 Lathrop), Career Services (Spear House). It is also attached. Trip fee is $40. Contact Krista Saleet ( with any questions.

Disaster Response Alternative Winter Break Trip

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
January 11-17, 2015

The Oklahoma City service trip will take place from January 11th to January 17th. It will be run by the Max Shacknai COVE Disaster Response Team and the group will consist of 9 student volunteers (including a student leader) and 1 staff member. The group will work with Rebuilding Together to provide relief to families impacted by severe weather. Since 1992, Rebuilding Together OKC has repaired over 1,830 homes, 29 non-profit facilities, and 8 public school buildings with the help of 50,000 volunteers. These repairs represent a value to the community of more than $20 million. Volunteers will work on a number of home repair projects to aid the organization in its ongoing effort to provide disaster relief to individuals devastated by the tornado and severe weather of this year. Trip fee is $200.


Habitat for Humanity Alternative Winter Break Trip

Salem County, New Jersey
January 11-17, 2015

The service trip will be planned and directed by the campus branch of Habitat for Humanity of Salem County, NJ. Volunteers will be working on a variety of homebuilding projects such as sheetrocking, insulating, and painting (most projects will be conducted inside due to the winter weather). Volunteers will be working on new construction. Trip fee is $100.


Education, Transmedia Activism, and Social Justice Alternative Winter Break Trip

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
January 11-17, 2015

The trip to Philadelphia is intended to reconstitute how one might think about community service and service learning.  That is, while models of what it means to do "direct service" (e.g. Disaster Relief, Habitat) are important, we will consider what it would mean for us to engage in service through listening, learning, and working through social justice issues through community empowerment with grassroots/activist organizations.  Students will learn hard skills and theoretical perspectives on responsive ways (e.g. video, art) to engage with communities' social justice projects. This trip is based around an idea of multi-platform story-telling, and while using media as activism, we will think of how to a participate in a different but incredibly effective kind of "community service". Led by Professor Mark Stern of the Department of Educational Studies. Trip fee is $200.


About Alternative Breaks

Our Alternative Break Program gives you the opportunity to embark on trips to domestic and international destinations to engage in community service and deepen your understanding of pertinent social issues through interaction, collaboration, and experiential learning. We will also train you as a leader and advocate for social change. We encourage you to take an active role in initiating and planning trips, and we expect you to actively reflect on your experiences.

Alternative break trips are not discrete one-week experiences. In addition to committing to a work-intensive week, you will be attend 3-4 pre-departure meetings to prepare you for the experience you are about to undertake. Once you return to campus, the goal is to bring awareness of the pertinent issues back to Colgate.

Our vision is a society of community-minded citizens. As part of the Alternative Break experience, participants will become more educated and experienced in all sides of a social issue. Upon return, they will be empowered to make more informed decisions and take meaningful action that supports a greater good. They will become contributing members of society and will weigh in on issues that impact their community.


Alternative breaks take our students all over the country and world. Often our destinations are determined by world events such as natural disasters, as we try to provide assistance in areas of need. Past alternative breaks have been to locations such as New Orleans, in response to Hurricane Katrina; Mexico City, Mexico; and Neyba, Dominican Republic.