Break Out Trips

What is a Break Out Trip (BOT)?

Break Out Trips (BOTs) are College-sponsored ventures in which students (and sometimes, faculty and staff) provide hours of voluntary service through short-term intense work projects conducted over part of the College’s spring break. BOTs offer opportunities for students to participate in ethical volunteer experiences that are transformative both for them and for their host agencies/communities by immersing themselves in carefully planned projects in close collaboration with their hosts.  We guide student leaders and those who advise them according to the Principles of Ethical and Effective Service and the Key Elements of Effective Experiential Pedagogy.

The BOTs Initiative is organized by the Center for Learning in Action, with additional guidance and support from the Chaplains’ Office, Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives, Davis Center, Office of Student Life, Dean of the College, and College Council.

  • How can I propose a BOT?

    Complete the BOT Proposal Form beginning Wednesday, September 25, 2019. It is strongly recommended that students review the Break Out Trips 2019-20 Planning Manual (hard copies are also available in the CLiA office), and consult either a Break Out Trip Committee member or other knowledgeable staff or faculty advisor prior to submitting a trip proposal. If you need assistance in obtaining an advisor, or if you need help with any aspect of the proposal, please email [email protected]. Note: The Project Description is particularly important. Be sure to explain what the project is and why it’s important.

    The deadline for proposing a 2019 BOT was Monday, October 14, 2019. Proposals are required for both new trips and to repeat a previous year’s trip. Members of the BOT Committee are eager to help you develop and refine your plan – and to help you find funding.

    How do I figure out how much the BOT I want to propose will cost?

    Use the Budget Calculator to break down the various costs for the whole trip – food, lodging, transportation, materials and supplies, etc., – and to calculate the cost for each individual participant.

    Where can I look for funding for a BOT?

    Submitting a BOT Proposal Form automatically qualifies you for consideration for a grant from a funding pool that includes funds from the Center for Learning in Action, the Chaplains' Office, the Gaudino Fund and other resources.  These grants cover most of the cost of a BOT, less a required individual contribution on a sliding scale based upon a student's level of financial aid.

    Note that all BOT proposals include the expectation that every individual participant, regardless of his/her financial means, will contribute some of his/her own funds to the cost.  The amount of this contribution is worked out in consultation with the BOT Committee, but all students who apply to participate should plan on saving for their trip between late October (the participants' application opening) and spring break.

    How are BOT proposals approved?

    Proposals will be examined by the Break Out Trip Committee (made up of staff and students) and must meet basic criteria in order to qualify for funding.  Proposals may be given tentative or conditional approval, and students may be asked to revise some aspect of the proposal in order to receive support.  Student organizers may meet with members of the BOT Committee during the revision process.

    Proposals are reviewed based on the following criteria:

    • Clear articulation of the social justice theme(s) of the proposed itinerary and activities
    • Trip is well-thought out and well-planned, with specific sites and hosts determined.
    • Trip is feasible, safe, and financially responsible. Additional priority will be given to lower-cost (especially local/regional) trips and domestic (U.S.) trips.
    • Participants have connections to on-site local organizations, individuals or trip service providers who are well-equipped to host the trip.
    • Students proposing trips have some knowledge of the destination and of the project. Prior experience with organizing an alternative break or similar project is a plus.
    • Where applicable, students proposing trips have foreign language ability and experience in the host culture or region.
    • Additional priority may be given to trips with a dedicated faculty or staff advisor.
  • For 2020 trips, the tentative timetable for Break Out Trip preparation is as follows:

    Deadline to Notify of Intent to Repeat 2019 Trips

    Sunday, September 1, 2019

    Purple Key Fair

    Thursday, September 5, 2019
    Towne Field House, 8-10pm

    Information Sessions for Prospective Trip Leaders

    Sunday, September 22, 2019
    Paresky 220, 5:00-6:00pm

    Tuesday, September 24, 2019
    Paresky 220, 8:00pm-9:00pm

    Opening of Trip Proposal Process

    Wednesday, September 25, 2019

    Closing of Trip Proposal Process

    Monday, October 14, 2019

    Proposal Acceptance Notification

    Tuesday, October 22, 2019

    Required Meeting for Leaders

    • Interested participants are encouraged to attend!

    Sunday, October 27, 2019
    Dodd Dining Room, 5:30pm

    Participant Application Opens

    Monday, October 28, 2019

    Individual Trip Q&A Sessions for Prospective Participants

    October 29 & October 31, 2019
    Various (See Schedule), 7-10pm

    Participant Application Closes

    Sunday, November 10, 2019

    Participant Acceptance Notification

    Sunday, November 24, 2019

    Deadline to Enroll in Selected Trip

    Monday, December 2, 2019

    Welcome Dinner for All Trip Leaders & Participants

    Thursday, December 5, 2019
    Dodd Dining Hall, 5:00-7:00pm

    Detailed/Updated Budget Submission Deadline

    Sunday, December 15, 2019

    Travel Itinerary & Travel Data Form Submission Deadline

    Sunday, December 15, 2019

    Project Work Plan, Updated On-Site Work Schedule & Budget Status Report Submission Deadline

    Friday, January 10, 2020

    Dinner & Workshops for All Trip Leaders & Participants

    Thursday, February 13, 2020

    Trip Leaders Dinner

    Thursday, February 27, 2020

    Spring Break

    March 21 - April 5, 2020

    Debriefing Sessions

    • RSVP for Debriefing Dinners

    Tuesday, April 7, 2020
    Perry Living Room, 6:30-8pm

    Thursday, April 9, 2020
    Perry Living Room, 6:30-8pm

    Host & Participant Evaluation Deadline

    Tuesday, April 14, 2020

    Trip Leader Final Report Deadline  

    Sunday, April 26, 2020