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Transforming communities through service

CMU Alternative Breaks program ranked No. 1 in Michigan, top five in nation

​​​Nearly 700 Central Michigan University students participated in an Alternative Break​ in 2015-2016 — more than any other university in Michigan. 

Through the program, CMU Chippewas have saved endangered baby sea turtles, built homes, served veterans, documented shipwreck artifacts and more. The students also have developed leadership skills and lifelong friendships along the way. 

The experiences I’ve had with Alternative Breaks shaped the way I think about the world and how social justice issues are interconnected,” said Nick Aniol, a Brooklyn senior who has participated in eight Alternative Breaks offered by CMU’s Mary Ellen Brandell Volunteer Center.


In the last academic year, CMU students traveled to 22 states, as well as Peru and Ecuador, to participate in 64 trips — leading Break Away to rank CMU third in the nation for the number of Alternative Break trips taken and fourth in the nation for the number of participants.

"The Alternative Breaks program does a good job of bringing students in and letting them walk out differently,” Harrison junior Jennifer Peacock said. “I feel like I’ve changed and view the world through a different lens.”

Alternative Breaks infographic

Aniol and Peacock have participated in Alternative Breaks focused on issues such as hunger and homelessness, urban renewal, youth and families, nature conservation, diversity, and veteran affairs.

“There’s a lot to learn about other communities, and Alternative Breaks​​​ is about bringing that knowledge you’ve acquired back to your own community,” Aniol said.

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