Thank you for your interest in the Alternative Breaks Advisory Board! We are looking for enthusiastic, hard-working people who are really committed to AB and the Volunteer Center. Our selection process will be competitive based on an application and an interview.

The application is available on OrgSync! 

If chosen as a Board Member, you will be required to meet for at least one hour each week with the Board. Board meetings will be every Thursday at 6:30pm and are mandatory to attend each week. You can expect to spend an additional amount of time each week working on AB business outside of the meetings. You will also be required to work at least one hour every week in the Volunteer Center or Alternative Breaks Office on campus. An extra time commitment will be needed as Breaks near, and amount of work to be completed is dependent upon each position.

Please read over the descriptions of each position and indicate which positions you feel you are qualified for. Descriptions can be found below. Please remember that you are applying to the Board in general, not a specific position. This means you may be asked to serve elsewhere than the position indicated.

A GPA of 2.5 or higher is required to be a Board Member. As long as you meet the requirement, your GPA will not be factored into your application. It is also a requirement that you have previously been on an Alternative Break in order to be a Board Member.

Applications will be accepted on a rolling bases. Interviews of all applicants will occur in late March for the 2012-2013 school year. If you are also applying for a Spring 2012 position interviews will occur before the end of the fall semester. Please fill out the OrgSync form. You are able to save the form and return to it at a later date. No paper applications will be accepted. If you have any questions, please contact an Alternative Breaks Board Member or contact the Volunteer Center (989.774.7685). You will receive an email from OrgSync saying you have completed a form (if your settings are set to receive emails).


Description of Positions


* Chairperson:

Maintains the Alternative Breaks program on a holistic level, ensuring the big picture of the program is being achieved. 

  • Plan and conduct Board Meetings
  • Have a working knowledge of everything AB
  • Manage selection process of Board members and assigning positions
  • Liaison between Board and University
  • Meet with advisor weekly; meet with budget team weekly
  • Utilize the Volunteer Center drive
  • Motivate others to accomplish tasks by deadlines and with great quality and efficiency
  • Must be a current or previous board member, and nominated by peers
  • The Chairperson will be a Volunteer Center Staff Member that works a required 12-15 hours per week, but is  expected to put in additional volunteer hours as necessary, just as the other Board Members are.

* Must be previous or current AB Board member and be nominated for this position. 

Vice Chairperson (1)

Vice Chair is responsible for assisting with the big picture of the Alternative Breaks program, making sure everything is running smoothly as a whole along with the Chair. 
  • Vice Chair will meet weekly with the Chairperson to update the Board's progress and is responsible for coordinating Think Tanks for development
  • Vice-Chair will be responsible for helping to facilitate the Great Lakes Alternative Breaks Conference in years that CMU hosts, or coordinating travel to the GLAB Conference. 
  • Plans and organizes three Participant Orientations for each winter, spring, and summer breaks. 
  • Prepares Board and Site Leader applications
  • Vice-Chair spends approximately five to ten volunteer hours each week on various tasks and projects.
  • When not handling their own responsibilities, the Vice Chair is heavily expected to assist the Chairperson and be available to help other positions in anything they may need related to preparation for breaks.
  • The creation of the Administrative Assistance Chair position will reallocate tasks so that the Vice Chair will be freed up to assist others; a major responsibility as breaks near and there is much to be completed.

Chair (1) - Administrative Assistance:

This is a new position created February 2010. This person will be taking on some of the administrative tasks of the Vice Chairperson as well as some duties from other positions. Duties will include:

  • Take minutes at meetings
  • Schedule issue education for board members
  • Collect board member office hours
  • Update paperwork
  • Manage the OrgSync account in conjunction with Chairperson and Board
  • Decorate bulletin boards in the office
  • Keep the office clean
  • Create a board contact sheet
  • Keep track of board attendance
  • Create and send out thank you notes to housing and service sites
  • Collect Legacy notes and pictures from site leader, create final legacy notes binder
  • Work closely with Chair and Vice Chair
  • Hours per week: around six hours 

Co-Chair (2) - Assessment, Development & Finance:

The AD&F co-chairs are usually split into an Assessment & Development half and a Finance half. Both chairs should be familiar with his/her co's responsibilities and progress. 

  • This position is responsible for drafting, researching and writing grants and other financial support letters on behalf of Alternative Breaks by working closely with the Advisor and Chairperson
  • Researching available opportunities by working with other colleges, university’s, non-profit organizations, and other state agencies.
  • Responsible for coordinating necessary information for creating and distributing electronic pre and post break surveys to participants.
  • The Finance position will be responsible for maintaining the AB budget, preparing money bags for all AB trips; creating food budgets for each site; attending weekly budget meetings with the Volunteer Center Student Accountant, AB Chair, Vice Chair and Advisors
  • Creating a grant committee and grading participant grant applications (when available).
  • Assessment, Development and Finance spends on average three to five hours per week.

Co-Chair (2) - Fundraising:

  • Responsible for the coordination of various fundraising projects and the organization of a fundraising committee if needed;
  • Approving, keeping track of and helping sites with their group fundraising.
  • The people in this position work closely with the Volunteer Center Accountant and AD&F.
  • These individuals must be very organized, efficient, and mindful of the importance of promptness.
  • They should not be afraid to remind people of their financial responsibilities or ask other Board Members for help when they need it
  • Should be committed to the development of new fundraisers.
  • Co-chairs spend an average of two to three hours per week working on their position as well as coming into the office every other day or so to approve any fundraising events. Special events require more time and co-chairs must attend for the duration of the event. Busiest times of the year are October through November and January through February.

Co-Chair (2) - Public Relations/Communication:

This position is responsible for all of the public aspects of Alternative Breaks -

  • Serves as a liaison to the media;
  • Responsible for advertising the program and coordinating preliminary informational sessions
  • Responsible for advertising when applications go out and deadlines
  • Responsible for advertising all fundraising projects
  • Responsible for designing and ordering shirts for all Breaks
  • Implements archiving by creating the Alternative Breaks scrapbook each year
  • Should have lots of creative ideas about how to get the word out about AB and have a good knowledge of our mission and objectives.
  • Communicates and coordinates with every position on Board for necessary PR.
  • This individual should be positive and motivational, a good speaker, a good salesperson and have good writing skills. No artistic skill is necessary.
  • PR and Communications Chairs spend three to four hours per week on their position. The busiest times of the year are before sign ups for each break as well as midway through the semester when designing t-shirts and placing orders.

Chair (1) - Re-Orientation:

Responsible for the organization and implementation of Pre and Post Break Reflection

  • Organizes all the aspects of Bring It Back Weekend and Reorientation Celebration (reserve a space, obtain food, make certificates, etc.)
  • Responsible for organizing and purchasing reflection materials for sites during break (communicate with Site Leader Orientation & Training co-chairs about these aspects).
  • Major responsibility is for the extended re-orientation of the program and implementing ways to keep breakers involved once break is over.
  • During the beginning stages of the program, this individual will provide support for other Board Members, helping them in whatever way they can and taking on any odd jobs that need to be done.
  • They need to be well organized and able to keep people motivated once the program is finished.
  • Re-Orientation spends two to four hours of work each week. The busiest times are those leading up to each Break’s Re-Orientation Celebration and Bring It Back Weekend.

Co-Chairs (2)- Site Leader Orientation and Training:

Responsible for providing Site Leaders with all the necessary training and information to prepare them for facilitating a group through the AB experience;

  • Creating and providing Site Leaders with manuals (with the help of Administrative Assistance Chair, and/or Vice); 
  • Working on team-building, reflection, crisis-management training, emergency procedures and helping Site Leaders organize their own participant selection criteria; and enabling Site Leaders to communicate and get to know each other so as to form a stronger team. 
  • Also responsible for filling in empty site leader positions when they arise, assigning site leaders to issues based on preferences, and utilizing board members for training purposes. 
  • Responsible for coordinating Site Leader Retreat and training sessions in the fall and spring, and communicating all necessary AB information to Site Leaders. 
  • These individuals are also responsible for working through issues that arise with site leaders and their groups. 
  • All communication and updates from Board to Site Leaders goes through SLOT
  • This position is also responsible for setting up appointments with Shawna for site overviews before departure, conducting individual meetings with each Site Leader after their break for follow-up on their experience, and relays relevant information to SSD. 
  • These individuals should be highly motivated, comfortable with public speaking, and should be able to organize and communicate the necessary information successfully. 
  • SLOT spends between eight and twelve hours each week, with more time being necessary leading up to each of the trainings.

* 2012-2013 SLOT co-chairs are requested to assist current 2011-2012 SLOT co-chairs with Site Leader selection interviews for 2012-2013 this second week of April (tentatively).

*Co-Chair (3) - Site and Service Development; Domestic:

Site and Service Development chairs are the initial communication link between the program and the sites. 

  • In charge of researching and contacting service and housing sites; must confirm the specified number of sites as well as confirm any cancellation of sites throughout the process; responsible for collecting information such as location, liability insurance, on-site transportation, fees, type of work that will be done at the site, etc
  • Responsible for planning housing for the site; must send site and housing profiles to the site leaders and have updates on site leader’s contact with both their sites and housing
  • Conduct site previews with site leaders, send them housing and site profiles with detailed information regarding their break
  • Conduct electronic post-break site evaluations; responsible for sending site and housing agreements by fax; and update trip reports in BreakAway’s database.
  • Meet with SLOT following each break for updated details received from Site Leaders.
  • Attend weekly SSD team meeting
  • The people in this position must be willing to spend a great deal of time on the phone to contact different sites to collect all necessary information, and should be diligent and well organized. The amount of work week to week may vary, but chairs spend approximately four to five hours each week in the Volunteer Center, though additional time may be required in order to wrap-up site information before each break.

* 1/3 of the Domestic SSD Co-Chair Team serves as Team Leader: The team leader should be able to balance their daily activities as an SSD co-chair as well as compliment the needs of the others serving as SSD. Should be able to speak about all sites and have a full working knowledge of each site’s standing. Should not hesitate to step up when necessary and complete each site’s service, housing, etc. when it is getting down to crunch time and a site is still not set up. Completes work of the sites they are responsible for, as well as coordinates work of all SSD Chairs and reports to the Chairperson on progress.

Chair (1) - Site and Service Development; International:

Responsible for implementation of the International portion of Alternative Breaks (there was no international breaks sent during the 2011 – 2012 school year due to a restructuring year).

  • Research organizations and volunteer sending programs to effectively provide quality volunteer experiences for the group while maintaining all support necessary for successful international experience
  • Determines and plans the schedule of service and other aspects of the international experience for the group
  • Coordinates all flights and travel for all international sites, in conjunction with service partner and study abroad office
  • Plan and facilitate Informatioin Sessions to gauge interest and best prepare students to sign up for and participate in an international break.
  • Meet weekly with Volunteer Center Coordinator and Chairperson.
  • International must begin planning in January/February/March to set up the winter break through contacting organizations and situating logistics in the same sense SSD Domestic does (responsible for collecting information such as location, liability insurance, on-site transportation, fees, type of work that will be done at the site, etc).
  • Utilize the BreakAway listserv to communicate with other universities that send out student led international Breaks.
  • This person spends approximately two to four hours each week working on SSD International responsibilities.

Chair (1)- Transportation and Risk Management:

  • Responsible for obtaining transportation for the entire program to and from each Site as well as On-Site transportation (this does not apply for International Sites).
  • Communicate with CMU Risk Management to approve drivers
  • Discuss transportation and risk management policies and procedures with Site Leaders
  • Also responsible for obtaining transportation for other AB functions (retreat, etc).
  • Acts as a liaison between the program and the rental company; works with travel agency to arrange flight information for international sites
  • Meets with Advisor to discuss issues such as cost, liability, etc; responsible for reporting any and all costs to the Board, ADF and the Advisor; and responsible for helping to obtain authorization of drivers for each site.
  • The Transportation Chair spends the majority of their time at the beginning of the year and each month before a break goes out. One to three hours is usually spent each week, yet be prepared to spend additional hours as situations may arise, especially when booking tickets for flights.

Chair (2) - Weekends:​

Responsible for coordinating approximately one to two Alternative Weekends per month including recruitment of Site Leaders through SLOT, Site Selection, Transportation and all the logistical paperwork associated with the weekend.

  • In short: choose and issue; find an organization to work with; coordinate a service plan; find housing; plan a budget for food, transportation and site/housing fees; and coordinate vans. If the site is a new one approval must be received through voting at weekly board meeting.
  • The people in this position must organize the participant binder and create and collect all the forms necessary for the weekend – refer to SSD description but on a weekend level.
  • These individuals should be familiar with the Alternative Weekend structure. Weekends Chairs spend approximately two to five hours each week on their position. The beginning of the school year and return from Winter break are the busiest times due to contacting sites, setting up the calendar, and researching potential new sites.