volunteer programs

FSILG&D Challenge

Challenge Cup award

Alternative Spring Break


Apply for Alternative Spring Break funding by March 1!

To apply for Alternative Spring Break funding, submit your project proposal to servicechallenge@mit.edu by noon on March 1. It takes time to coordinate projects with agencies, raise needed funds, and plan travel logistics, so start searching for ASB opportunities now. Donít let this great chance to engage in community service slip away from you!

Download the ASB Planning Guide to get started.

Each registered team can apply to subsidize one Alternative Spring Break (ASB) trip for their FSILG or dorm members. For each team, funding is capped at $1,000 or 50% of the total trip cost (whichever comes first). Funding will be competitive based on merits of the proposed projects. Additional fundraising will likely need to be undertaken by participants.

Funding Requirements

  • A minimum of 3 participants, all from the same registered team
  • Complete application, as described below
  • All teams receiving ASB funding from the MIT Public Service Center (PSC) must attend a meeting with a Service Challenge coordinator at the PSC. This will be a 20-30 minute check-in with your group. Participants must also attend a post-ASB reflection dinner hosted by the PSC on April 4, 2013, at 7:30 p.m.
  • Substance abuse will not be tolerated during the trip! The PSC has the right to revoke funding if ASB participants do not follow Institute rules during the trip.

Application Guidelines

Apply as a group for ASB funding by submitting a project proposal to servicechallenge@mit.edu by noon on Friday, March 1. Your proposal should be concise, but detailed, and it should consist of the following:

Cover Page (1 Page)

  • Information about primary contact person (MIT ID, phone number, e-mail address, term address, permanent address)
  • Names, email, phone, and class year of all participants
  • The community service issue theme selected for your service challenge team
  • One-paragraph abstract
  • Anticipated total cost for the ASB project
  • Dates and times you are available for a potential meeting with PSC staff during the two weeks after the submission of your proposal

Proposal Body (1-2 pages single spaced)

  • Who or what in the community are you trying to help?
  • What connections do you have in the community (people or organizations that you are in contact with)? What arrangements have you made with these local hosts?
  • What needs do they have that you are addressing? (Include an estimate of the number of people you will be helping or other impact (for example, how many miles of river will you be maintaining?)
  • What will your project entail? Be specific. How many hours a day will you work on this project? What does the schedule for your week look like?
  • What should the end result look like? When you leave, will the project continue in some new form because of contributions you made?
  • How does this Alternative Spring Break project tie into service work that you have done or plan to do locally?
  • What is your plan for transportation, accommodations, needed materials, and food?
  • What preparation have you done already and what do you still have to do?
  • What is your plan to mitigate risk (as in, substance abuse, dangerous neighborhoods, etc.)?


  • Include an itemized list of expenses. Use this sample budget (link to: http://odge.mit.edu/community/gslg/sample-budget/) as a general guideline.
  • Typical budget items include: flights, ground transportation, housing, food, and materials (such as work gloves, paper & markers, science kits, etc.)
  • Include a plan for paying for the remainder of trip expenses (Will you fundraise, pay out of pocket, or have dorm or chapter funds cover costs? What will your fundraising activities consist of?)

Tips for Planning an ASB Trip

The PSC does not offer pre-planned ASB trips, but does offer teams the guidance and resources needed to coordinate their own projects. It is recommended that you begin gauging your team’s interest, researching opportunities, and fundraising as soon as possible, ideally in the fall semester. You can start by gauging interest within your group and asking yourselves the following questions:

  • How can I use an ASB trip to build upon the service work that I am doing locally?
  • Do I want to serve locally, nationally, or abroad?
  • Is there a geographical region that exhibits a great need for service work relating to my team’s selected service theme?
  • Do any of the non-profits that I am working with in the Boston area have other locations or connections in other cities?
  • Do I (or any of my teammates) have a community service relationship with organizations in a hometown?

Download the FSILG&D Community Service Challenge Alternative Spring Break Planning Guide for many useful tips on how to plan and implement your ASB project.

You can use the suggested volunteer match sites on the team resources page to find non-profit partners in other locations.

Keep in mind that you will need to secure your own affordable housing in the community where you choose to do community service. Some options to research include area youth hostels or sleeping facilities provided by local churches for volunteers. It is a good idea to ask your community organization contacts if they have any suggestions of where their past volunteers have stayed.