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UI Alternative Service Break Program Named Nation’s Best

May 31, 2017

The University of Idaho Alternative Service Break program, which connects volunteer students with service projects around the region and world, has been named the nation’s top program for 2017.

Break Away, a national nonprofit that promotes the development of quality service break programs, has named UI the 2017 Program of the Year. The Break Away awards are the highest honors given to alternative break programs. Recipients are chosen based on commitment to developing student leadership, building active citizenship on campus and a true dedication to quality alternative breaks. 

UI student volunteers take part in the service projects through the Center for Volunteerism and Social Action in the Department of Student Involvement during winter, spring and summer breaks as a means to challenge themselves and develop leadership skills through service across the globe. In 2017, Vandals took winter trips to volunteer in Nicaragua, Ecuador and the Philippines, as well as a spring break trips for service projects across Idaho, Oregon and Washington. This summer, a group of volunteers recently returned from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as part of a home-repair program with Rebuilding Together Pittsburgh.

In 2016, a total of 130 Vandals took 12 trips around the world that had an economic impact of more than $106,000. In addition to increasing the total number of trips, the UI program has recently strengthened its sustainability and invested in student leadership development by offering a three-credit course for site leaders. 

“I am incredibly proud of the Alternative Service Break student coordinators who have worked on the program over the past years and the ASB student leaders of each trip. They are the reason the University of Idaho program is a leader in the field,” said Natalie Magnus, coordinator in the Center for Volunteerism and Social Action. “Each year I see students pour their heart into service through ASB, and being recognized as a leader in the nation is a wonderful way to thank the students for their commitment and work.”

More information on the award is available at the Break Away website at

Media Contact:
Natalie Magnus, Program Coordinator
UI Center for Volunteerism and Social Action

About the University of Idaho

The University of Idaho, home of the Vandals, is Idaho’s land-grant, national research university. From its residential campus in Moscow, U of I serves the state of Idaho through educational centers in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls, a research and Extension center in Twin Falls, plus Extension offices in 42 counties. Home to more than 11,000 students statewide, U of I is a leader in student-centered learning and excels at interdisciplinary research, service to businesses and communities, and in advancing diversity, citizenship and global outreach. U of I competes in the Big Sky Conference and Sun Belt Conference. Learn more: