Frequently asked questions
1. What is ASB looking for in applicants? Who is an ideal ASB candidate?
There really is no ideal ASB candidate. In fact, site leaders pick people with various qualities and interests to ensure a diverse trip. All that’s needed is enthusiasm and willingness to work hard, along with a strong interest in community service and the world around you.
2. Do I have to have past travel experience to participate in ASB?
No. In fact, many ASB participants are first time travelers or new to their type of site. Site leaders will prepare participants for any travel knowledge and understanding they might need.
3. Can I still apply if I have never done community service?
Of course. ASB accepts people with all ranges of service experience!
4. Is there a fee to participate in ASB?
Yes, the price of each trip is listed on the trips section of the website. Each participant is asked to cover the cost of their own trip, which ranges depending on the trip location, duration, and service involved. Each trip cost includes a fee that goes toward t-shirts, trip insurance, an end of the year get together, and comprehensive Site Leader training. The cost of the trip also includes transportation, activities, food, and lodging for the trip week itself. Visit our Paying For Your Trip page for ideas on how to cover these costs.
5. How can I raise funds to decrease my trip expenses?
Raising funds for your trip requires hard work and initiative. Your site leaders will try to set up one group fundraiser, in which you are expected to participate. Beyond that, many participants write letters to friends and family asking for donations or go door to door in their neighborhood asking for small sums toward their trip total. You are also encouraged to apply for grants (through ASB’s service learning grant options or Bairuther research grants), which will be advertised via email. There is also limited financial aid available through ASB for those who qualify for financial aid through the University. Through hard work using these methods, many participants have received enough funding to cover their entire trip. Visit our Paying For Your Trip page for more ideas on how to cover these costs.
6. Are health vaccinations included in the estimated trip costs?
No. Some trips will have required or optional health vaccinations, but these are not included in the estimated trip costs and there are few trips with these requirements.
7. Is ASB affiliated with the University of Virginia?
Although this organization has members who are University of Virginia students and may have University employees associated or engaged in its activities and affairs, the organization is not a part of or an agency of the University. It is a separate and independent organization, which is responsible for and manages its own activities and affairs. The University does not direct, supervise or control the organization and is not responsible for the organization’s contracts, acts or omissions. For more information about CIO’s, please visit the Student Activities Center website.
8. Does ASB receive funding from Student Council?
ASB receives minimal funding from Student Council that goes toward administrative expenses like copying and mailing. Most of our funds are acquired through grants and generous donations.
9. Is ASB religiously affiliated?
Alternative Spring Break is not religiously affiliated in any way. Some site leaders may choose to work with a religiously affiliated organization (Habitat for Humanity International, for instance), but these trips are open to participants of any faith or denomination.
10. Is there a faculty member on each ASB trip?
Alternative Spring Break is completely student-run, and the trips are also student-led. There will not be a faculty member on each ASB trip, but there will be faculty support. Professors and staff in various departments help Site Leaders and the Executive Board learn about their intended destinations and service organizations before their trips leave Grounds. Participants are also encouraged to carry out their own research, with faculty support where it is desired, in areas where their trips relate to their personal or academic interests.
11. Is there a language requirement for certain international trips?
Most Alternative Spring Break trips do not have a language requirement–even international trips where English may not be spoken. A few trips will have a language requirement because of the nature of the service, but most do not. The trips with this prerequisite will usually require completion of certain courses to prove language capabilities. ASB trips are a perfect chance to practice language skills, but there are plenty to choose from even if you do not speak another language.
12. Does ASB return to some of the same sites year after year, or do they pick brand new sites every year?
One of the goals of ASB is to create sustainable relationships between Alternative Spring Break at the University of Virginia and the communities in which UVA students volunteer. A number of students choose to return to their ASB site for a summer after their initial visit, and others choose to participate in ASB trips to the same locations year after year.
ASB has ongoing service partnerships with the following sites:
Atlanta 2006, 2007
Bangladesh 2006, 2008
Belize 2003, Winter 2007, 2010, 2011, 2012, Spring 2007, 2008, 2009, 2012
Charlottesville, Virginia 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012
Costa Rica 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013
Ecuador 2006, 2008, 2009, 2012
Egypt Summer 2007, Summer 2008
El Progreso, Honduras 2007, 2008, Summer 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
Ghana Summer 2006, Summer 2007
Grand Canyon 2006, Winter 2007, Winter 2008, Winter 2009, Spring 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
Guatemala 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009
Mississippi 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012
Monte Cristi, Dominican Republic 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012
New Orleans, Louisiana 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
New York City 2003, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2012, 2013
Peru 2007, 2008, 2009, Winter 2009, Winter 2011, Spring 2013
Port Isobel, Chesapeake Bay 2005, 2006
Saguaro National Park 2004, 2007
San Francisco, California 2006, 2007, 2013
Santa Monica, California 2007, 2008
South Carolina 2004, 2007, 2008
South Dakota 2007, 2008
Treasure Beach, Jamaica 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012
Trinidad 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012
13. How are these trips “alternative”?
These trips are drug and alcohol-free, offering students an alternative to the more traditional spring break experience. This allows students to be immersed in environments that enable them to interact with diverse communities and understand complex social issues and is important for liability purposes as well.
14. I am unsure if I want to apply for ASB, can I talk to someone in person about ASB?
Of course! Any of the Alternative Spring Break Site Leaders and Executive Board members would be more than happy to sit down with you in person to talk about ASB. Please refer to the Exec Board section for contact information. Also, there are hundreds of past participants around UVA who have been on an ASB trip – ask around!
15. What if I don’t get placed on one of the trips that I really, really, really wanted to go on?
Your trip placement is not set in stone. If placed on a trip that you decide you don’t want to go on, you are allowed to take yourself off of the trip and put your name at the bottom of other trips waitlists. Plans change, and trip rosters are often not finalized for a considerable time, so there is a chance that you could end up going on the trip you had your heart set on. Alternatively, you might not get off the other waitlists. We encourage you not to drop the trip on which you are originally placed because we cannot guarantee you another spot. Email if you have any placements-specific questions!
16. If I decide that I do not want to participate in ASB after I turn in my deposit, can I get my money back?
Your $100 deposit is not refundable because it often costs money to switch names on plane tickets and make other necessary changes to reservations.
17. Can I go on an ASB trip with my best friend, boyfriend, or girlfriend?
We will not honor requests to go on the same trip as one of your friends, roommates, boyfriend or girlfriend. You and any of the aforementioned may, of course, apply to go on the same trip. It is, however, one of our stated goals as an organization to bring together members of the University community who might not otherwise interact in their usual social spheres. We encourage you to embrace this ideal as much as seems reasonable to you.
18. What do I do if I get sick on my ASB trip?
Every Site Leader is prepared to deal with illnesses and emergencies that may happen on their trip through careful preparation and work with their site contact. Each Site Leader will be carrying a first aid kit with them and is required to have a plan for situations like a sickness. We have a comprehensive training plan for Site Leaders so that they are prepared for all types of emergency situations.
19. How do I become an ASB site leader?
Every year, after ASB participants return from their spring and winter trips, ASB accepts applications and conducts interviews for those wishing to become Site Leaders. Some preference is given to applicants with a strong connection to their proposed trip location (e.g. past experience in a place, language abilities, family who live there), but applicants are encouraged to apply without a specific site in mind. Most important are a strong interest in community service, leadership skills, and enthusiasm for Alternative Spring Break.
20. I am not currently a UVA student, can I still apply?
No. Alternative Spring Break is only open to current undergraduate students at the University.
21. Is there a point at which I can no longer drop out of participating in an ASB trip?
Yes. Within two weeks of your trip departure date, you will not receive a refund of any kind if you choose not to participate in ASB. Site leaders are entitled to create trip deadlines for their individual trips as well, as airfare payment and finalized deadlines vary.
22. I will be abroad in the fall. Can I still apply? How?
Yes. We would love for you to participate in ASB even if you are not in Charlottesville during the application period. Be sure to fill out the online application, and please email with any further questions you might have.