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Becoming an Alternative Breaks Advisory Board Member

"I am challenged every day, and am growing into the leader I have always wanted to be. This program means the world to me, and I am proud to be a board member."

Thank you for your interest in the Alternative Breaks (AB) Advisory Board!

We are looking for enthusiastic, hard-working volunteers who are really committed to AB and the Volunteer Center. Our selection process requires both an application and an interview with the Student Coordinators and Advisory Staff.

Alternative Breaks Advisory Board applications for the 2021-2022 academic year are currently closed, but will reopen in the Spring 2022 semester. In the meantime, be sure to sign up for an Alternative Break, as preference is given to program participants for Board positions. AB Advisory Board applications will open on our Engage Central page. Please send any questions to

If chosen as a Board Member, you will be required to attend weekly Alternative Breaks Board Meetings every Thursday at 5:00 p.m.  Board members are expected to spend up to 10 additional hours each week working on Break planning outside of the meetings, including at least one hour every week in the Volunteer Center or Alternative Breaks Office. An extra time commitment will be needed as Breaks near, and the amount of the work to be completed is position dependent.

Please read over the descriptions of each position below and indicate in your application which positions for which you feel most qualified. Position preferences are taken into consideration, however, applications are not position specific and the selection committee may offer you a different Board position than preferenced, but one in which you can succeed.

Previous participation on at least one Alternative Break and a GPA of 2.5 or higher is required to be a Board Member. If the requirement is met, GPA will not be factored into applications. Applications will be available via an Engage form. Applications may be saved and finished in more than one sitting. No paper applications will be accepted.

If you have any questions, please contact an Alternative Breaks Board Member or the Volunteer Center (989-774-7685). After submitting an application, you will receive an email from Engage saying you have completed a form (if your settings are set to receive emails).

AB Board Position Descriptions

Paid Position(s)

Student Coordinators maintain the Alternative Breaks program on a holistic level, ensuring the big picture of the program is being achieved. Individuals split responsibility throughout the year. 

Duties include but are not limited to:

Overseeing the Advisory Board, planning and conducting Board Meetings
Planning program events, such as Information Sessions, Orientation, Kick Off, and Reorientation
Managing transportation, logistics, policy, and participant lists
Having a working and growing knowledge of everything AB
Managing selection process for Board members
Attending a weekly meeting with a Co-Coordinators and the AB advisor
Motivating others to accomplish tasks with great quality and efficiency by setting realistic deadlines

In order to obtain this position, one must either be a current or previous board member and be nominated by their peers.
Student Coordinators will be a part of the Volunteer Center Staff are compensated for their time.

Volunteer Positions

Volunteer positions provide studnets with significant leadership development and community building opportunities.  AB Board Member volunteers commit to approximately 5-10 hours of Alternative Breaks work per week.  One of these hours must be served in the Alternative Breaks office located in the Bovee University Center, Room 104. During major AB events or immediately prior to Breaks departures, Board Members may need to commit extra time to the program.

Participant Engagement Chair (PEC) will work alongside advisors, coordinators, and various board members. This person will be taking on a dynamic role within the Alternative Breaks Advisory Board. 

Duties will include but are not limited to: 

Co-hosting orientation, helping plan and facilitate sessions about AB foundations for new and returning participants and site leaders

Recruitment, attending hall councils, and facilitating outreach for the program

Working with student coordinators to create innovative ideas for reorientation activities and events

Engaging participants with a bi-weekly participant newsletter

Creating surveys for participants to continue growth in the program 

Administrative tasks as assigned, such as taking meeting minutes, and managing the Engage portal

Sending thank you notes to program community and campus partners

Fundraising Chair manages and organizes all program fundraisers, approves individual site fundraisers, and coordinates individual participant fundraising. 

Duties include but are not limited to:

Coordinating a large-scale fundraising event for Winter, Spring, and Summer Breaks

Approving fundraising ideas from individual site leading pairs

Managing and facilitating individual participant fundraisers

This individual should be highly organized, efficient, and mindful of time management. To be successful in this position, this chairperson should be detail oriented. They must be committed to the development of new fundraisers as well as the sustained success of historical fundraisers. 

The Public Relation Intern (PR) works in coordination with Volunteer Center PR staff and the Student Coordinators to promote Alternative Breaks around campus.

Duties include but are not limited to:

Designing, writing, and releasing all social media relating to AB, including press releases and interdepartmental communication

Coordinating large scale PR events, such as tabling or volunteer projects

Moderating shirt designs for all Breaks Promoting weekend and weeklong break sign ups, fundraising events, and other program events

Communicating and coordinating with every position on Board for necessary PR

Updating the AB website.

This individual should be positive and motivational, a good speaker, a good salesperson and have good writing skills. No artistic skill is necessary, but they should have lots of creative ideas about how to get the word out about AB and have a good knowledge of AB mission and objectives.

The SLOT team has the responsibility of providing Site Leaders with all the necessary training and information to prepare them for facilitating a group through the AB experience. 

Duties include but are not limited to:

Planning and coordinating Site Leader Retreat and training sessions in the fall and spring, and communicating all necessary AB information to Site Leaders

Working on team-building, reflection, crisis-management training, emergency procedures and helping Site Leaders ready themselves to facilitate their experience.

Building community among and promoting communication among Site Leaders to better form a stronger community.

Assigning site leaders to issues based on preferences, filling empty site leader positions when they arise, and utilizing board members for training purposes

These individuals should be highly motivated, comfortable with public speaking, and should be able to organize and communicate information successfully.

Site and Service Development Co-Chairs (SSD) are the initial communication link between the program and the sites. The focus is establishing and maintaining community partner relationships while planning the logistics of each break.

Duties include but are not limited to:

Researching and contacting service and housing sites; they must confirm the specified number of sites as well as confirm any cancellation of sites throughout the process. Including collecting information such as liability insurance, fees, type of service, etc.

Communicating break specifics with site leaders

Sending site and housing agreements by fax; and update trip reports in Break Away’s database.

Attending a weekly SSD team meeting

Completing all transportation and logistics, including budgets, etc. 

People in this position must be comfortable talking on the phone and effectively communicating via email.

The International Site and Service Development Chair (ISSD) is responsible for maintaining and/or forming ethical, sustainable partnerships with CMU faculty and the Office of Study Abroad. 

Duties include but are not limited to:

Researching organizations to effectively provide ethical, quality volunteer experiences for the group while maintaining all support necessary for successful international experience.

Working with faculty members to determine and plan the schedule of service and other aspects of the international experience for the group

Planning and facilitating information sessions to gauge interest and best prepare students to sign up for and participate in an international break

Meeting weekly with a Student Coordinator and the AB advisor.

**This position is only available when the Alternative Breaks Program is offering an International Alternative Break. 

The Weekends Co-Chairs are responsible for coordinating approximately one to two Alternative Weekends per month, including site selection, transportation and all the logistical paperwork associated with the weekend.

Duties include but are not limited to:

Performs the functions of an SSD, but in the context of weekends. See SSD description above for clarification.

Market weekend breaks to hall councils and other potentially interested parties around campus.

The people in this position must organize the site leader binder and create and collect all the forms necessary for the weekend.

The Fridays Co-Chairs are responsible for coordinating approximately two to three Alternative Fridays per month, including site selection and all logistical paperwork associated with the Friday.

Duties include but are not limited to:

Performs the function of an SSD but in the context of Fridays. See SSD description above for clarification.

Market weekend breaks to hall councils and other potentially interested parties around campus.

The people in this position must organize the site leader binder and create and collect all the forms necessary for the Friday.