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.

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! 

February 2023 MAlt Applications

Five MAlt trips are planned for February 2023. Here are the trip descriptions:

  • Environmental Justice : Los Angeles, CA Seeing the rapid and intensifying changes of the global climate has pushed the MAlt community to pursue a trip centered around environmental justice so that we can address the various injustices that come as a result of climate change. Though there are various regions we can aid, for the 2022 - 2023 academic year, ten Middlebury College students and their trip leaders will be serving the Los Angeles and surrounding communities. From working with well-known organizations like TreePeople to Heal the Bay, students will have the chance to learn about topics ranging from what causes climate change and how we can provide some restoration and aid to the community partners we serve. Trip leaders: Nerjes Azzam ‘25 and Julianna Martinez ‘24

  • Immigration Advocacy: New York City, NY This trip will focus on immigration and humanitarian relief in New York City. Some areas of work include translating documents,  immigrant resettlement, aiding with legal documents, and food security. Throughout the week, the students will work with several organizations to learn more about the process of entering and settling in the United States for immigrants. Most importantly we will focus on how participants can continue to be advocates in their communities. We will dive into conversations and action plans for the future. Trip leaders: Nathaly Martinez ‘24 and Aylin Atzin ‘24

  • Privilege and Poverty: New Orleans, LA This trip will focus on the relationship between privilege and poverty through engaging in a variety of different projects throughout New Orleans. Some areas of work and education include sustainability, improvement of educational infrastructure, and creation of community spaces. Throughout the week, students will work with HandsOn New Orleans, serving the community where best suited through their various projects. 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. Trip leaders: Tayyaba Akhtar ‘25 and Megan Paluska ‘25

  • Sustainable Coffee Farming: Guatemala Coffee is one of the world’s most valuable commodities, and Guatemala produces hundreds of millions of pounds every year. Yet, most coffee farmers receive very little compensation for what they produce. In this week-long trip across Guatemala’s main coffee-producing regions, centered around the city of Antigua, we will be connecting with locals directly involved in coffee production. Through action focused on agricultural sustainability and social justice, our group will be in contact with the region’s historical sites and local producers in this immersion experience for any coffee lover who cares to see the story behind a plant that has shaped Guatemala’s history. Knowing Spanish is not expected/required for the trip. Trip leaders: Maya Teiman ‘25 and Javier Merino ‘25

  • Environmental Solutions: Puerto Rico The trip focuses on environmental topics on the beautiful island of Puerto Rico. Partnering with local environmental NGOs, we will explore a series of themes ranging from clean energy to environmental justice - including efforts to recover from severe hurricane disasters. As a group, we will also spend time enjoying the rich culture, unique cuisines, and fun water sports the island has to offer. Knowing Spanish is not expected/required for the trip. Trip leaders: Yiran (Steven) Shi ‘23 and Christina Chen ‘23

Apply now to join a February 2023 alternative break trip!

Become a MAlt Trip Leader

The trip leader applications for February 2023 are now closed. Please check back in April 2023 for more information about leading a February 2024 trip.

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. 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: We require students to be on campus for the Fall and Winter semesters to be a MALt leader. You 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! Trip fees have been waived for all February 2023 trips. Typically, 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.


Contact the MAlt co-presidents at middalt@middlebury.edu or MAlt advisor Katherine O’Brien at katherineo@middlebury.edu.

Frequently Asked Questions


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 2023, projects will take place domestically and internationally.


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


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


For 2023, the trip fees have been waived for each participant. In typical years, trips cost $275 and there is financial aid available to all so that cost is not a barrier to access. 


Katherine O’Brien, Interim Program Director, Center for Community Engagement, Email katherineo@middlebury.edu.


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 Katherine (katherineo@middlebury.edu).

Center for Community Engagement
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753