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SMU Alternative Breaks

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Break Away - The Alternative Breaks Movement

The SMU Alternative Breaks program is a long-standing member of the Break Away national organization.  We are a part of a cohort of more than 150 Alternative Breaks chapters across the United States who are also striving to create a culture of active citizenship on their campuses.  Each year, the Break Away chapters host approximately 1,500 trips and contribute to more than 1.3 million community service hours.


Break Away's Beginnings

Break Away was founded in June 1991 by Michael Magevney and Laura Mann; two Vanderbilt University students. Break Away operated as a national nonprofit organization for 9 years, though it was officially a program of Vanderbilt University. Thanks to the tremendous financial and administrative support Break Away enjoyed in that capacity, it grew from being a fledgling alternative break resource center to the leading national organization dedicated to developing lifelong active citizenship through quality alternative break programs. 

Mission & Vision

Break Away's mission is to train, assist, and connect campuses and communities in promoting quality alternative break programs that inspire lifelong active citizenship.

Break Away's vision is a society of active citizens: people who value the community as a priority when making life decisions. As part of a quality Break Away experience, participants will become more educated and experienced in all sides of a social issue. Upon return, they will be empowered to make more informed decisions and take meaningful action that supports a greater good. They will become contributing members of society and will weigh in on issues that impact their communities.