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Lynx Alternative Breaks

The Lynx Alternative Breaks program exposes students to complex social and cultural issues through direct service, experiential learning, group discussion, and personal reflection. The vision is to transform students into advocates of social change on issues affecting our communities. Students travel to new communities to explore social, cultural, and environmental issues by serving with various community organizations. Lynx AB trips are led by students and much of the expenses are covered. Flights, transportation, food, and lodging are included in the participation fees. #LynxAB​

The goals of a Lynx AB Trip are to:
  • Participate in service projects that positively impact the community.
  • Develop community amongst CU Denver students.
  • Learn about community building and development.
  • Have new and exciting experiences and grow as individuals.
  • Become globally-conscious active citizens committed to lifelong service.

Participation in Lynx Alternative Breaks will challenge and inform your understanding of relevant community and social justice issues in our society. The selection criteria is aimed at understanding your level of teamwork, interest in the social issue, leadership, diversity, and potential for growth.

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Participating in #LynxAB Breaks

There are countless reasons to take part in this unique opportunity.

  • Diversity & Social Justice Education: Students experience life and people in a community different from their own and collaborate with local people to directly confront social issues.
  • Substance Free Environment: Students have a chance to spend a week in an alcohol and substance free environment, providing an intentional and safe environment.
  • Self Discovery: While learning about a diverse array of social issues, students will also learn about themselves and what it means to work in a team.
  • New concept of community: Often, we think we know what the community needs without consulting the members of the community. Break programs allow us to examine our campus-centered focus in a positive way.
  • Building Bridges: Students have the opportunity to meet and network with other CU students as well as professionals to discuss and learn from one another about cultural, social and environmental issues.
  • Travel experience: Students will see parts of the United States that are beyond the Forbes travel sights.
  • Personal satisfaction: One of the greatest feelings in the world is the ability to look back over a week of hard work knowing that you efforts have made a difference.
  • New friendships: Participants often make strong new friendships not only with other participants, but also with members of the community in which you are serving.

Participant Expectations

  • Additional meetings/service days may be planned by your Trip Leaders.
  • Travel to and from the AB site with the group.
  • Be open to processing (at your own comfort level) the Alternative Break experience individually and as a group through organized reflection, journaling, and other activities.
  • Serve as a positive role model, representative, and ambassador of the University of Colorado Denver while on and off campus.
  • Be respectful of diverse community and cultural norms and values that you may experience in community, including with members of the Alternative Breaks group.
  • Commit to being an active contributor to your group and show respect for fellow group members, community partners, and community members with whom you serve.
  • Be willing to explore diverse perspectives, opinions, and to advance cultural competency, understanding, and sensitivity.
  • Embrace experiences working independently as well as with a group.
  • Be organized, self-motivated, adaptable, and flexible.
  • Refrain from the use or possession of alcohol or any controlled substances/drugs for the duration of the Alternative Breaks experience.

#LynxAB Trip Leaders

#LynxAB Trip Leaders are the chief coordinators for AB experiences. They plan and oversee trip logistics, facilitate peer learning around social/environmental justice issues, develop educational and orientation curriculum for participants, lead team activities and reflections, and serve as the main contact for their individual AB experience. All Trip Leaders commit to and serve in this role for one complete year.

The #LynxAB Trip Leader role is a valuable and unique leadership, personal and professional development experience for undergraduate and graduate students. This role is a structured experience guided by on-going mentorship, training, and feedback focused on trip leader and participant learning through knowledge acquisition and experience. Trip Leaders will develop valuable transferrable skills.

Trip Leader General Qualifications
  • Must have participated in at least one alternative break trip before applying
  • Must be in good academic and disciplinary standing with the university
  • Must be responsible, reliable, flexible, and able to work well with others
  • Good planning, communication, and organizational skills
Benefits of Being a #LynxAB Trip Leader
  • Valuable personal development and transferrable skills that can be applied to many contexts
  • Trip Leaders will be a valuable voice for student involvement in Lynx AB and will have an opportunity to help guide the direction of the Lynx AB program
  • High level of responsibility and unique leadership experience leading peers through experiential education program
  • Organizational experience through trip-planning and coordination
  • Deeper understanding of social issues, root causes, service-learning, social change and social justice concepts
  • Trip Leaders receive a $500 stipend and attend their respective trip free of charge.
Trip Leader General Requirements
  • Attend weekend summer training
  • Attend Site Leader Training (weekly fall semester; 2 hours each week; Friday mornings 10am-12pm)
  • Coordinate recruitment and selection of AB participants
  • Work with a Co-Trip Leader and Staff Advisor to lead a team of 10 – 12 participants
  • Complete 1-2 office hours per week with Co-Trip Leader
  • Organize 4-6 pre-trip meetings and 2-4 post-trip meetings (with all participants)
  • Research and educate participants about the social/environmental justice issue(s) involved in your trip
  • Build team dynamics and facilitate team building activities
  • Be open to sharing with Co-Trip Leader and Staff/Faculty Advisors your motivations, goals, fears, strengths, and limitations to ensure an effective partnership
  • Completing First-Aid and CPR training prior to trip
  • Complete driving authorizations if necessary

#LynxAB Staff & Faculty Advisors

Staff & Faculty Advisor Responsibilities and Expectations:

Staff & Faculty Advisors are an integral part of the AB program. Trip Leaders coordinate the logistics for the trip, facilitate team activities and reflections, and serve as the main contact for service sites. Staff & Faculty Advisors serve as an advisor for Trip Leaders by providing support throughout the planning process and the trip itself. Advisors also serve as a resource and mentor for participants before, during and after the trip.

It is important for Advisors and Trip Leaders to proactively discuss expectations they have for each other and specific tasks to be distributed. In general however, all Advisors will be expected to:

Before the Trip
  • Meet with trip leaders on a regular basis to discuss trip-planning process and provide guidance and assistance where needed. Specific meeting expectations:
    • Meet with the Trip Leaders twice a month in person
    • Have virtual check-ins (over email, gchat, over phone) at least weekly with trip leaders
  • Assist your team in fundraising efforts to offset the cost of the trip for participants
  • Attend all team meetings and service activities; assist team leaders in setting meeting agendas and objectives
  • Attend Staff & Faculty Advisor training
During the Trip
  • Manage money for food, gas, and other expenses (in the form of a University Travel Card)
    • Your supervisor will need to approve that you be given a Travel Card. This card will be cancel upon the approval of necessary reports (likely 1-2 months after your trip).
  • Take appropriate actions in case of an emergency on the trip
  • Participate in all service and reflection experiences during the trip
  • Create deep meaningful dialogue, inquiry and critical thinking surrounding social justice issues
  • Serve as a resource for the Trip Leaders concerning group dynamics and logistics as needed
  • Encourage and support Trip Leaders as the primary guides, facilitators, and leaders of your AB experience
After the Trip
  • Turn in all expense reports and receipts
  • Complete Staff & Faculty Advisor Assessment
  • Attend post-trip Advisor Meeting
  • Participate in post-trip team activities and service
  • Participate in the AB reorientation events
  • Staff & Faculty Advisor Benefits

  • Opportunity for personal development through participation in an extended service-learning experience
  • Opportunity professional development through interactions with a small group of students from a variety of college departments and interest areas across campus.
  • Staff advisors’ trip expenses (including transportation, lodging, and food) are covered in full
  • Opportunity to share personal expertise or research interests with a group of students in a real-life setting

  • ***Important Note*** As a Staff & Faculty Advisor, the Lynx Alternative Break program will cover the expenses for your trip, however, you will need to ensure with your supervisor that you are able to take the entire period off from work. You will also need approval to be away from your position for up to 2 hours for meetings prior to the trip.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​