The Alternative Service Break (ASB) program gives students a chance to challenge themselves and inequalities while developing as a leader. Students come together to help communities across the United States and internationally through service grounded in social justice issues such as: rural and urban poverty, white flight, racism, domestic violence, access to housing and health care, homelessness, food insecurity, sustainability, education reform, and disaster recovery. By engaging students in hands-on direct service, ASBs allow individuals to reflect on the impact they can have on communities. The ASB program places a heavy emphasis on critical thinking and reflection, turning a passion for volunteering and "doing" into a lifelong commitment to civic engagement.
Begun in 2001, the ASB program has seen immense growth following the devastation from Hurricane Katrina in August of 2005. In the spring of 2006, more than 60 students traveled to Waveland, Mississippi to help that community rebuild. In the spring of 2007, the ASB program expanded dramatically.
Over 100 students and advisors spent spring break either in the Gulf or Appalachian regions of Tennessee. In 2007, the program sent a then record number of volunteers to 10 different locations over spring break and expanded to include the first international team of 28 volunteers to Cai Cay, Peru over Winter Break.
As of the fall 2013, the University of Idaho has had ASB teams serve with local communities in 25 states and 11countries.
This Winter 2013, four ASB teams will be serving in Cai Cay, Peru - Pittsburgh, PA - Romania - and San Francisco, CA. This upcoming spring break the Center will be sending out 12 teams spread throughout the United States.