A student volunteers as part of a Middlebury Alternative Break Trip.

MAlt is Middlebury’s alternative break program. 

The goal of MAlt is to engage Middlebury students with communities across the nation and the globe in order to share an experience, provide service where service is needed, and learn about the systems that shape community realities around the world.

The trip leader application for February 2023 leaders is here, and includes details about leader roles. Priority deadline was Wednesday, April 27th. Participant applications will open in Fall 2022.

Details: 

Trip co-leaders will guide a group of 10 participants on an experience over February Break 2023 in which they learn about a social issue and work collaboratively with place-specific community partners in direct service or advocacy activities. Social issues in the past have included: environmental conservation, gender equity, migrant justice, education access, anti-racism, food systems, and more. They have traveled to communities in places such as Boston, MA; Washington DC; Puerto Rico; San Diego, CA; San Antonio, TX; New York, NY; and beyond!

Co-leaders are supported by the CCE staff advisor and the MAlt Co-Presidents over the summer (with a $200 stipend) and fall/January terms (in a half credit course that meets for one hour/week) to develop their trip’s focus, location, and learning objectives. They’ll build an itinerary by selecting community partners, building a budget, and arranging travel logistics. Additionally, they’ll select participants for their trip in the fall, build community among the team as they prepare for the Feb Break experience, and lead fundraising efforts. Co-leaders can expect to spend about three hours/week on average during the academic year leading a trip.

Note: You need to don’t need to have been on a MALt trip before or have a full trip itinerary (or even social issue or location!) in mind to apply. Throughout the leadership selection process we’ll work with you to define those important aspects! There is a trip fee of $275 for all co-leaders and participants, and ample financial aid available if that is a burden. For most participants, MAlt is free. Finally, we require students to be on campus for the Fall and Winter semesters to be a MALt leader.

With questions, please email middalt@middlebury.edu or MAlt advisor Kailee Brickner-McDonald (kbricknermcdonald@middlebury.edu). 

Past MAlt projects

Five MAlt trips were planned for February 2022, and had to be cancelled due to the Omicron Covid variant. We share them so you can get a sense of the kinds of experiences we hope to lead in February 2023.

  • Education & Literacy: Boston, MA Literacy is an often overlooked social justice issue in the United States. On this trip, participants will explore more about education access and literacy amongst youth in Boston, MA. Students will volunteer with organizations like 826 Boston and ReadBoston, working in partnership with them to aid the efforts of their organizations and learn from each other. Leaders: Akbar Ali Aziz Jr. ‘24 and Natalia Santiago Melendez ‘23

  • Environmental Justice : Los Angeles, CA Throughout the last few years, we have been seeing the dramatic effects of climate change transform landscapes across the country and across the world. In California, drought and fires now rule different aspects of everyday life, from when one can water their lawn to the ability to live safely in one’s home. For this trip, ten Middlebury College students will be selected to participate in a hands-on learning experience led by two of their peers to explore environmental justice in Los Angeles, California. During this trip, students will volunteer in a variety of ways to learn about and engage with a wide range of topics, including what causes climate change, what we can do to help the environment, and how our various identities inform our relationships with the environment.  Leaders: Elizabeth Bird ‘22 & Anna Saviano ‘22

  • Immigration Advocacy: San Antonio, TX This group will be working with RAICES (Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services), a non-profit that provides free and low-cost legal services to refugees and immigrants in Texas. Thousands of Central Americans arrive at our southern border seeking asylum on a regular basis. Under the family detention team, we will prepare families for their “Credible Fear Interview” with an asylum office. We will also meet families once they have been released to the Greyhound bus station and give legal orientations. Participants should be proficient in Spanish and prepared to interact with individuals experiencing trauma in their lives. Leaders: Kevin Mata ‘22 & Julia Lininger-White ‘24.5

  • Privilege and Poverty: New Orleans, LA This trip will focus on the relationship between privilege and poverty through engaging with various communities in New Orleans. Some areas of work and education include houselessness, education access, and racial inequality. Throughout the week, students could mainly work with HandsOn New Orleans, serving the community where best suited, while partnering with other organizations in the evenings. Engagement will be focused on education and mutually beneficial work that will allow participants to truly aid the community while learning about how to remain involved with these phenomena and conversations even after returning to Middlebury. Leaders: Adayliah Ley ‘24 & Cassia Park ‘24

  • Healing through Art & Storytelling: Philadelphia, PA Storytelling can be one of the best forms of healing. STORIEZ is an organization that focuses on storytelling in order to heal from trauma, guiding people who have faced significant hardship to take power of their story by crafting it themselves. Participants will work together with the director of STORIEZ in order to organize a community event that focuses on storytelling and empowerment in Philadelphia. Students on this trip will also volunteer with other organizations that tell stories through other mediums, such as mural-making. Leaders: Hawa Adam ‘22 & Dane Wilson ‘22

Contact

Contact the MAlt co-presidents at middalt@middlebury.edu or MAlt advisor Kailee Brickner-McDonald at kbricknermcdonald@middlebury.edu.

Frequently Asked Questions

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MAlt is Middlebury’s alternative break program. We provide affordable, service-oriented alternatives to traditional February break activities. We offer opportunities for students to help others and to expand their own experiences and perspectives by serving on local, domestic, and international trips. The trips are drug- and alcohol-free and provide a great chance to engage in an immersive intercultural service experience with peers. In 2022 projects will hopefully take place regionally and domestically, if Covid allows.

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We welcome first years - seniors to participate in the MAlt projects.

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Each MAlt project typically has a total of 12 participants, including two well-qualified and trained leaders, all Middlebury students.

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For 2022, the fee is $275 for each participant. There is financial aid available to all so that cost is not a barrier to access. 

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Kailee Brickner-McDonald, Program Director, Center for Community Engagement, Email kbricknermcdonald@middlebury.edu or call 802-443-3010.

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It depends! MAlt trip leaders will enroll in a half-credit fall course to support their trip preparation. For participants, it is a co-curricular community engagement experience, not a credit-bearing course. If you’d like to incorporate your MAlt experience into a course project in the CCE-staff taught INTD 0121: Community Connected Learning, though, please contact Kailee (kbricknermcdonald@middlebury.edu). 

Center for Community Engagement
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753