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Max A. Shacknai COVE Alternative Breaks

Learning at Colgate does not stop when students go on break. Make the most of your time by volunteering for an alternative break, traveling domestically and internationally to engage in community service!
Habitat for Humanity workers in New Bern, North Carolina, lifting the beginnings of a wall

To Apply

Please fill out application electronically and e-mail it to Meghan Moran. Contact Meghan Moran at the Max Shacknai COVE with any questions, 315-228-6877 or e-mail.

Applications will be available in October.

Social Innovation in New York, NY

March 16-21, 2014 - Cost: $200 (financial aid is available if needed)

This trip is designed to allow participants to explore ways that for-profits companies are engaging in social impact work.  We will visit a variety of companies from large multinational corporations to small start-ups to learn about different models of socially responsible practices.  You will have the opportunity to ask questions and gain greater insight into the role of social responsibility in a variety of settings, including Deloitte, J.P. Morgan, Google, Pearson Education and a number of start-ups.

Leadership Development at Pathfinder Village in Edmeston, NY

March 17-21, 2014 - Cost: $50 (financial aid is available if needed)

Pathfinder Village is a caring community offering independence to people living with Down syndrome and developmental disabilities.  Volunteers will take part in a 5-day inclusive team building program designed to build shared learning, mentoring, and coaching relationships between Pathfinder Village secondary students and college age peers.  Student volunteers will be paired one on one with a resident for the duration of the week and each team will work together on a variety of challenges.  The experiences will be evaluated and the input of each participant recorded.  This input will later be used to develop a broader Pathfinder Village program designed to foster learning and increased self-awareness for college age individuals with disabilities to be rolled out the next year.  Activities will include a ropes course, hike, outdoor cookout, and planning a St. Patrick’s Day event for other residents.  The goals of this trip are to build relationships with Pathfinder staff and residents while providing the organization with a valuable service that will impact the lives of people with disabilities at Pathfinder for years to come.

About Alternative Breaks

Our Alternative Break Program gives you the opportunity to embark on trips to domestic and international destinations to engage in community service and deepen your understanding of pertinent social issues through interaction, collaboration, and experiential learning. We will also train you as a leader and advocate for social change. We encourage you to take an active role in initiating and planning trips, and we expect you to actively reflect on your experiences.

Alternative break trips are not discrete one-week experiences. In addition to committing to a work-intensive week, you will be responsible for actively fundraising for the trip as well as showing dedication to developing a long-term relationship with the involved community. You and your peers are also responsible for bringing awareness of pertinent issues back to Colgate.


Alternative breaks take our students all over the country and world. Often our destinations are determined by world events such as natural disasters, as we try to provide assistance in areas of need. Past alternative breaks have been to locations such as New Orleans, in response to Hurricane Katrina; Mexico City, Mexico; and Neyba, Dominican Republic.