About The Program
The ABP does not organize or lead service break trips. Instead it supports students’ efforts by providing trainings, guidance and financial support. The success of any alternative break service trip depends on the leadership of the trip’s student leaders and the dedication and hard work of the entire team. Below you will find the criteria required to seek approval of student-led Alternative Break Trips.
ABP funds may be applied to team travel expenses such as food, lodging, in-country transportation, and airline tickets. The ABP supports its teams by awarding matching grants. This means that the ABP will give teams a dollar for every dollar it raises, up to the specified grant amount.
The ABP determines an appropriate grant amount based on budgetary considerations and how well the trip fits into the ABP mission, which is refelcted in the 5 Pathways to Service.
Nonrefunable deposits must be submitted to the ABP (or, if you're a recognized student group, deposited into your student group account) by each team member once accepted into the program. The deposit amounts are proportional to the team's logistical budget. The ABP will match team deposits immediately, and will be put towards the team's overall fundraising goal.
|Estimated Team Logistical Budget ($)||Deposit Amount Per Person|
|0.00 - 4,999.00||$100.00|
|5,000.00 - 9,999.00||$150.00|
|10,000 and up||$200.00|
A Trip Leader is the person, or people, who has submitted the preliminary proposal and accepted the responsibility for the organization and leadership of a service trip. It is recommended that a team has two Trip Leaders.
Healthy teams work together and share a vision, responsibilities, and leadership roles. Teams have autonomy in terms of how they want to organize themselves. For example, teams may choose to use a horizontal organizational structure that uses consensus decision-making. Regardless, a team must designate a Trip Leader(s) that assumes responsibility for working with the ABP to ensure the success of the team.
Trip Leader Responsibilities
We’re excited that you’re interested in organizing and leading a service experience with the ABP! It could potentially be a life-changing experience for you, your team, the community with which you will work and even the communities of which you are a part.
Organizing and running an ABP trip, however, is a lot of work and responsibility. Below is a list of what is expected of you as a Trip Leader.
As the group’s organizer and leader, you will be responsible for:
- Ensuring the group follows all ABP policies and procedures, including adhering to deadlines and attending trainings
- Recruiting and developing your team
- Establishing and completing your team’s goals for the trip
- Working with the sponsor organization
- Building and adhering to a budget
- Securing the funding required for the trip
ABP Student Advisory Board?
The ABP is a student-led, and administrator-managed, program. The students who lead the program make up the ABP Advisory Board.
The Board is made up of six Columbia University students from the various schools, two of whom, the Co-Chairs, play primary leadership roles for the ABP. The Board works with the trip leaders to develop their service trips and review and evaluate trip proposals and recommend various levels of funding to the ABP Administrators.
The ABP Administrator and Co-Chairs operate the program so that students – board members, team leaders, trip participants – learn about, and strive to practice, the CAE’s Civic Competencies. They ensure that the ABP is a living laboratory for the 5 Pathways to Service, fostering the idea that we all have a responsibility to our various communities and that those who seek to serve think through and employ the form(s) of service that will best address a particular community challenge.
The Administrator and Co-Chairs are committed to a strong student-leadership development model that fosters student creativity, independence, responsibility, program ownership and the cultivation of a healthy program culture. This model encourages enthusiastic, conscientious and humble service, where the students work with and learn from the individuals and communities they seek to serve. Lastly, they must ensure that the program operates in a way that keeps the safety of all involved at its center.
You can reach the Co-Chairs directly via email.
View the ABP Final Proposal Sample.pdf.
What type of information is required in the proposals?
The preliminary and final proposals will ask you to provide the following information:
- Whether you are applying as an independent team of students or a as a team sponsored by recognized student group
- What community you wish to serve
- Where domestically or internationally you want to serve
- What type of service you can provide
- How you and your team will take what you’ve learned through your service experience and how you can share those lessons with the Columbia community
- Your travel itinerary
- Team budget
- Preparation plans
- Information about your sponsor organization
- Other information that may help the ABP Board fairly and accurately evaluate your team’s proposal
The preliminary proposal is designed to help foster ideas and to help those submitting the proposal organize themselves as well as communicate to the ABP committee what you want to accomplish and how. The final proposal is a document that demands very specific information that shows the ABP committee that the person or group submitting the proposal has prepared properly and done the necessary reach and planning that a quality alternative break project takes.
How will the proposals be evaluated?
I. Preliminary Proposals
Preliminary proposals are evaluated based on the following criteria:
- Feasibility and safety of the proposed trip
- Clearly outlined goals of the trip – including what the team hopes to accomplish in the community in which it is to work, what the team hopes to learn from the experience, and how the experience will have a sustainable impact within the community
- Identification of and tentative acknowledgement from a credible sponsor organization
- Composition and size of team as well as how the team will be recruited
- Team and team member expectations
- Anticipated budget
- Travel Logistics
- Lodging Logistics
Once preliminary proposals are submitted they will be evaluated by the ABP and may be moved forward to the next round of the proposal process or rejected. If a proposal is rejected before the final deadline, students may seek advice from the ABP board on how to modify their preliminary proposal and resubmit. If the preliminary proposal is accepted, students are invited to submit a final proposal.
II. Final Proposals
Final proposals may be accepted with financial support, or accepted without financial support, or rejected.
- Final proposals accepted with financial support will be awarded an ABP matching grant that is based on the team’s final proposal. Teams that accept the ABP matching-grant are considered ABP-sponsored trips and therefore are required to follow the ABP policies and procedures, attend the trainings and to work with the ABP on developing and leading the trips.
- Final proposals accepted without financial support will be invited to participate in the ABP trainings and will be able to access the ABP for guidance and support. These trips, however, are autonomous from the ABP.