About ASB

Alternate Spring Break is a student run University of Pennsylvania organization that sponsors community service trips to various locations across the country. Participants spend their spring breaks performing worthwhile community service work, ranging from building homes for low-income families to rehabilitating the environment along the Appalachian Trail.

ASB Mission 2012-2013

  • To promote community service and involvement through direct, hands-on service opportunities for students.
  • To expose students to a new environment and lifestyle.
  • To meet the needs of the people we are serving, as defined by the host organization, and facilitate a mutually beneficial relationship between community and students.
  • To provide this experience within a service learning framework; i.e., to provide pre-service training and education, and reflection activities during and after the project.
  • To promote unity amongst a diverse group of people through team-building and bonding activities.
  • To provide leadership experiences for site leaders and develop coordinators for future projects.
  • To do good for others and leave our mark on the communities we serve.

    Our History

    Alternate Spring Break (ASB) was founded in 1990 by a group of Penn students who wanted to give others an opportunity to spend their spring breaks doing meaningful and fun community service work.

    Originally ASB participants worked exclusively with Habitat for Humanity, a nationwide organization that confronts the issues of housing and homelessness by building affordable low-income housing. In 1997, ASB expanded its focus to include trips addressing the environment, education, and inner city poverty. This year we plan on continuing our involvement with Habitat and other community service organizations.

    Over the last two decades, ASB has developed into a hugely successful organization. Each year, over one hundred Penn students participate on ASB trips to various parts of the country. Our ASB alumni pool numbers in the thousands!

    What We Do

    ASB trips take place in March during the week of Spring Break. This year, ASB will offer eight trips to various locations across the United States. Participants on each site will spend the week working with a particular volunteer organization. Historically, half of the ASB trips each year have been to Habitat for Humanity sites. Additional organizations that we have partnered with in the past include Volunteers for Communities, Youth Service Opportunities Project, Volunteers of America and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

    Past trips have included constructing adobe houses in Taos, New Mexico, building trails along the Appalachian Trail in Narrows, Virginia, building homes for Habitat for Humanity in Miami, Florida and San, Francisco California, and tutoring children on a Cherokee Nation reservation in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.

    All ASB trips are led by two trained student site leaders, who are responsible for coordinating logistics and scheduling activities during the week of spring break. ASB participants work hard, but trips are also structured to include relaxation and down time during the week of Spring Break.


    ASB is proud to be a part of Civic House. Visit Civic House, the University of Pennsylvania's hub for community service and social advocacy, to learn about the numerous service opportunities at Penn.

    Read our constitution (pdf).

    Interested? Sign up for our listserv, Like us on Facebook, Reach us at altbreak@gmail.com.