Columbia College | Columbia Engineering

Undergraduate Student Life

Alternative Break Program

Welcome to the Alternative Break Program!

The ABP provides funding and support for teams of Columbia/Barnard students who tackle community challenges around the world, across the country, or in our own backyards!

We have supported academic-break (spring, summer, winter) civic engagement projects from Bangladesh to Morocco, from Oregon to Brooklyn and everywhere in between. 

The ABP is unique compared to traditional civic engagement project programs. 

Our motto - "Challenging Service" - is not meant to imply that people shouldn't serve or volunteer, but it is meant to get people to think critically about how and why they do that work. The ABP is founded on two primary civic-engagement principals. First an ABP team's work is solution-based. Second, the program strongly encourages teams to use Social Entrepreneurship when designing their civic engagement projects.

There are two ways to participate

  • Organize your team's own civic engagement project, deciding what challenges to address, who to work with, and what community to work in
  • Join a team and help the organizers shape the experience. Visit our current list of projects looking to add members to their rosters

How does it work?

Well it isn't too much more complicated than coming up with a civic engagement goal using the 5 Pathways to Service, submitting a proposal, forming a team, and then preparing for your civic engagement project.

Explore this site to learn all about our missionvalues, processes, and funding system, check out our Facebook page, or email us directly with questions. 

We'll help you every step of the way. Now get out there and help change the world!

Alternative Break Program


515 Alfred Lerner Hall
2920 Broadway
New York, NY 10027

Call: 212-854-1371

Fax: 212-854-6972

9:00 a.m.–5:00p.m.