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James Madison University

Chapter Type
Program Name
Alternative Break Programs
The program started in 1992 planning a relief trip, for the spring of 1993, to help clean up from Hurricane Andrew in Homestead, Florida. The trip consisted of 50 students and staff leaders (original staff leaders were Rick Hill with Habitat 4 Humanity and Father John Grace with Catholic Campus Ministries.

Between the 1992-1996 the program had one to two trips conducted each year. The trips were staff led and sign-ups lasted until the day the trip left.

In 1996 we had 5 trips conducted and the trips switched to student lead trips. Resources were put into training student leaders. Also, Learning Partners (faculty/staff) were added to the trips.

In 1997 and 1998 Winter Break trips were introduced and worked the week after finals in DC.

In 1999 JMU was awarded the Alternative Break Program of the year by Break-Away.

From 1999 until 2003 Freshman and Transfer Break trips were offered the week prior to fall semester.

From 2000 until 2007 Alumni Break trips were offered in the summer working with the Paix Bouche Community in Dominica.

In 2005 we began the May Break trip in response to Hurricane Katrina. We committed to serving NOLA for 10 years.

In 2008 we began sending Thanksgiving Break trips since the university had a week-long break

In 2010 we began sending Weekend Break trips. We were also awarded Alternative Break Program of the Year by Break Away. At the time, JMU was the only school to be named Program of the Year twice.

In 2014 we re-instated Winter Break trips (only years that have an extra week in January before classes begin). In 2014 we had 560 participants on 46 trips.
Harrisonburg, VA 22807