Take on your world by serving your world.
The Service Break Experience program provides opportunities for students, faculty and staff to practice their beliefs through service to communities around the world. Rooted in the four pillars of building community, doing justice, living simply and engaging spiritually, the program boosts 1 Winter Break, 10 domestic Alternative Spring Break, 5 International Immersion, and 1 Summer of Service experiences.
Participants engage in an almost year-long preparation process learning about the social justice and community issues of their site, volunteering at a local nonprofit and building community with their group before the one or two-week service-immersion experience.
Who can participate?
All St. Edward's University undergraduate students currently enrolled full time are eligible.
Do I have to be Catholic to participate?
No, but we will encourage you to think about the connection between your spirituality and social action in the pre-immersion meetings and during the immersion. We will ask you to participate in Mass but are also open to attending services of other traditions, depending on the desires of the group.
How much does it cost to participate?
The fee helps to cover general room and board and transportation. It does not include the cost of immunizations, passport or additional items bought on the experience. All payments are non-refundable.
Fundraising is also required and supports the site; it doesn’t defray your out-of-pocket cost.
What Service Means to Hilltoppers
Learn how two Hilltoppers' Service Break experience broadened their perspectives on social justice and influenced their career paths.
However, we do not want money to be a prohibitive factor in your application for Alternative Spring Break or International Immersion. If you have a financial need, you can apply for a grant from the Campus Ministry Service Break Experience Fund.
Alternative Spring Break & Summer of Service | $450
Winter Break | $500
Canada | $500
Peru | $1000
India & South Africa | $1350
When are applications due?
Priority Deadline (guarantees an interview): Sept. 17
Final Deadline: Sept. 24
Do I get to choose where I will be going for my Service Break Experience?
Yes and no. We look for participants who are open to the entire experience regardless of their placement. Therefore, although we cannot guarantee your first choice, we try to match you to a service site based on your application, interview and year in school.
What can I expect?
You will work with a group of 8-12 members of the St. Edward’s University community throughout the school year and at your service site to build community, do justice, live simply and engage spiritually. The specific service depends on your site placement. Flexibility is key! Rain happens. Traffic happens. Don’t be discouraged. Sometimes, that’s when the best and unexpected things happen! In short, you will laugh a lot, work a lot, play a lot and grow a lot. #SBErocks
What is the time commitment?
In addition to group meetings, fundraisers and community building activities, you can expect to participate in an Opening Ceremony, SBE Gathering, Commissioning and a Reunion.
Will I have free time?
Each site has a different schedule, but we always have some free time. Groups will work together their time off. To promote community and ensure safety, you may not leave the group even if you have a friend or family nearby (they can visit you!). Every day, there will be time for you to take personal time to reflect or just be. It will be up to you to communicate your needs to the group.
Is it safe?
Safety is our top priority. As with any travel there are dangers, but each of our sites are screened carefully and measure are taken to ensure your safety. Participants are never allowed to travel alone.
Can I bring my cellphone or other technology?
No. As a part of the pillar of living simply, we ask you to disconnect for your experience. Student Leaders and Advisors will have their phones in case of emergencies on site or at home.
For more information, contact Liza Manjarrez.