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 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.

The BOT Initiative is organized by the Center for Learning in Action and the Chaplains’ Office, with additional guidance from representatives from the Offices of Student Life and the Dean of the College, and from College Council.

Information for BOT Participants

Please see the updated timeline for 2018 Break Out Trips below. The 2018 Participant Application deadline was Sunday, November 12, 2017:

If you are interested in participating in a future trip, or have a new idea for a trip, please take our general interest survey so we can help match you to Break Out Trip opportunities:

More information about past trips may be found here:

Information for BOT Organizers


How can I propose a BOT?

Complete the BOT Proposal Form, which is open from mid-September through mid-October. Staff advisers will be available to discuss your proposals and answer your questions prior to submission. Please feel free to contact us at [email protected] if you need help with any aspect of the proposal. 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 2018 BOT was Monday, October 16, 2017. 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 Dean’s Office, the Gaudino Fund, and the Davis Center.  These grants never cover 100% of the cost of a BOT – but they’re a start!

Depending on the nature of the proposed project, a particular trip may also qualify for funding from an academic department. Trips that include faculty or staff as participants, as well as students, may also qualify for funding from the Committee on Undergraduate Life.

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 October 30 (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.
  • Trip is feasible, safe, and financially responsible.
  • Participants will 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.

What’s the process for organizing a BOT?

For 2018 trips, the tentative timetable for Break Out Trip preparation is as follows:

Deadline to Renew Returning Trips

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Acknowledgement of Trip Renewal

Friday, August 25, 2017

Purple Key Fair

Thursday, September 7, 2017
Towne Field House, 8-10pm

Information Sessions for Prospective Trip Leaders

Sunday, September 10, 2017
Paresky 220, 5:00-6:00pm

Thursday, September 21, 2017
Paresky 220, 8:00pm-9:00pm

Opening of Trip Proposal Process

  • BOT Proposal Form

Friday, September 15, 2017

Closing of Trip Proposal Process

Monday, October 16, 2017

Proposal Acceptance Notification

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Required Meeting for Leaders

  • Interested participants are encouraged to attend!

Thursday, October 26, 2017
Dodd Dining Hall, 6:30pm

Participant Application Opens

  • 2018 Participant Application Form

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Individual Trip Q&A Sessions for Prospective Participants

October 31 – November 3, 2017
Paresky 112 & 220, 7-10pm

Participant Application Closes

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Participant Acceptance Notification

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Deadline to Enroll in Selected Trip

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Welcome Dinner for All Trip Leaders & Participants

Sunday, December 3, 2017
Dodd House, 5:30-7:30pm

Fundraising Plan Submission Deadline

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Travel Itinerary & Travel Data Form Submission Deadline

Sunday, December 10, 2017


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

Friday, January 12, 2018

Dinner/Mixer for All Trip Leaders & Participants

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Group Fundraiser

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Trip Leaders Dinner

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Spring Break

March 17 – April 1, 2018

Debriefing Sessions

Tuesday, April 3, 2018
Dodd Living Room, 6:30-8pm

Thursday, April 5, 2018
Spencer Living Room, 6:30-8pm

Host & Participant Evaluation Deadline

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Trip Leader Final Report Deadline  

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Additional Planning Resources