Alternative Friday Breaks

Alternative Friday Breaks (AFB) are a new opportunity for students to volunteer in the greater Mt. Pleasant area. These opportunities occur every Friday during the Fall and Spring semesters (with the exception of exam weeks). Breaks are free to students, and a t-shirt and transportation are provided. 

During this time students will learn about local needs and ways to get involved more regularly.  Each week, participants will meet to get a brief orientation where they will meet each other and gather knowledge about the local non-profit selected that week. Students will then spend a few hours serving that non-profit organization in a variety of ways. Following service, volunteers will reflect about their experiences together.  


These service experiences are available to all students regardless of their field of study or volunteer experience;​ all that is required is a passion for giving back to the community! 

Community Partners & Past Service Sites

  • Chippewa Nature Center
  • Humane Animal Treatment Society
  • Commission on Aging
  • Mt. Pleasant Discovery Museum 
  • Foster Closet of Michigan
  • West Midland Family Center 
  • Art Reach of Mid-Michigan
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Joshua's House
  • Little Forks Conservancy

And more!

To sign up, visit the Mary Ellen Brandell Volunteer Center Engage portal here.

Alternative Weekend Breaks

Alternative Weekends (AWkB) is a program growing in popularity each year. Students travel around Michigan to volunteer with an organization over a weekend.  The issues and sites for Alternative Weekends are continually changing. 

Sign-ups will open on the following dates for each month's Weekend Breaks:
  • Sign-ups for weekends serving in October : Wednesday, September 18, 2019
  • Sign-ups for weekends serving in November Wednesday, October 16, 2019 
  • Sign-ups for weekends serving in February : Wednesday, January 22, 2020
  • Sign-ups for weekends serving in April Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Sign-ups happen on the Mary Ellen Brandell Volunteer Center Engage portal at 7:30 a.m. 

Fall 2019 Alternative Weekends Schedule:


10/18-10/20: Housing Inequality 

10/18-10/20: Preserving Public Lands

10/18-10/20: Youth Resource Development


11/22-11/24: Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities

11/22-11/24: Environmental Conservation

11/22-11/24: Food Insecurity and Homelessness

Spring 2020 Alternative Weekends Schedule:


2/7-2/9: Housing Inequality and Food Insecurity 

2/7-2/9: Youth Advocacy


4/3-4/5: Supporting Survivors of Aggression

4/3-4/5: Veterans Support and Outreach

Following sign ups, site leaders contact participants with information about where the break will be serving and further details, including setting up a group meeting before the Alternative Weekend departs

Weekends are charged a flat rate of $50, which includes meals, housing, service site fees, van rentals, gas, and a t-shirt. 

Weekend AB.jpg

Annual CMU Danielle Gucciardo Alternative Weekend

The Danielle Gucciardo Alternative Weekend was named in honor of a CMU student who was heavily involved with the Alternative Breaks program and also served as the Weekends Chairperson.  After graduation, Gucciardo passed away in the spring of 2013 while serving with the Peace Corps.  Find out more about the CMU Danielle Gucciardo Alternative Weekend by visiting the Volunteer Center (UC 106).