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Celebrating its 25th year, UT’s Center for Leadership and Service is preparing to send nine teams on fall break trips to work in communities around the region on projects involving education, public health, and wealth inequality.

The teams will depart Thursday, October 4, and return Sunday, October 7. Ninety-six students will participate.

Student trip leaders develop each year’s trips and participants select a trip during a lottery event.

Since 1993, the Alternative Break program has allowed more than 2,500 students to embody the Volunteer spirit by using their fall and spring breaks to engage in meaningful community service across the United States.

Here’s a look at this fall’s trips:

Montgomery, Alabama

This team will partner with Montgomery Public Schools and The SPOT, a community center that keeps youth occupied and off the street after school. The students will examine factors that contribute to the area’s educational disparities.

Athens, Georgia

Students will partner with Athens Inclusive Recreation and Sports and FOCUS + Fragile Camp, two organizations that help kids who have medical conditions or significant developmental or physical disabilities. The students will learn how these organizations encourage athletes of all physical levels to maintain healthy lifestyles.

Raleigh, North Carolina

Partnering with the Women’s Center of Wake County and TROSA Addiction Center, students will learn more about how wealth inequality affects women in the Raleigh area.

Columbus, Ohio

This team will partner with the Kaleidoscope Youth Center, Equitas Health, and Equality Ohio to work with the LGBTQ+ community to address homelessness, violence, and health care access.

Nashville, Tennessee

Students will work with Open Table Nashville, Second Harvest Food Bank, Youth Villages, and Habitat for Humanity to address housing issues in one of America’s fastest-growing cities.

Roanoke, Virginia

This team will partner with Feeding America Southwest Virginia, Ronald McDonald House Charities, the local Office on Aging, Meals on Wheels, and the Child Health Investment Partnership. They will be exploring various aspects of public health including health care access, children’s health care, food deserts, and aging.

Asheville, North Carolina

Students will partner with Asheville Greenworks, an organization that engages the community in grassroots environmental projects, to learn about environmental issues through service, reflection, and activities.

Bowling Green and Scottsville, Kentucky

This team will partner with Boys and Girls Club of Bowling Green, the Barren River Area Child Advocacy Center, and the Center for Courageous Kids. They will learn about the psychological influences that can affect a child’s development by working with at-risk youth, youth affected by abuse, and youth suffering from disorders.

Memphis, Tennessee

Students will serve at Dorothy Day House, a shelter that works to keep homeless families together, and Hope House, a source of education and social services for those affected by HIV and poverty.

New Opportunities This Winter

In addition to the annual fall and spring break trips, the Center for Leadership and Service this year will offer two new opportunities for students to get involved during their winter break. 

In its first flying domestic trip, the center will be sending participants to Austin, Texas, from December 14 to 19 to focus on immigrant rights. Participants will volunteer at community organizations to learn about the challenges immigrants face when they arrive in the US and explore how our nation’s immigration policies directly impact their experience.

In addition, the center will offer a short-term study abroad experience in Prague from December 27 to January 6. The trip, which has previously been offered during spring break, will allow students to learn about active citizenship from a global perspective. Participating students will take a course during the spring semester to reflect on their experiences and explore ways they can engage with and serve the refugee population in Knoxville.


Katherine Saxon (865-974-8365,