Information for Parents
This page is dedicated to answering all kinds of questions for parents and guardians of students participating in alternative break trips. If we fail to answer any questions you have please don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Download our parent guide to learn more about Mizzou Alternative Break and your student’s experience:
About Mizzou Alternative Breaks (MAB)
MAB is a student-led program overseen by the Dean of Students Office at the University of Missouri’s campus. It’s our goal is to provide a safe, fun, alternative service break for Mizzou students. We do this by training our site leaders and selecting students who we believe will follow the rules and implement our policies regarding various aspects of the trips.
How MAB Works
Participants apply for Mizzou Alternative Breaks and preference their top three service focuses on their application. Service focuses are the trip categories (health, education, etc.). We then select participants based on their application and preferred service focus. After being selected, participants meet with their site leaders on a regular basis to talk about fundraising efforts, policies, service focus education, and bonding. To find out more about your trips, please visit ( ).
Departure and Return Dates
Our trips typically depart on the Friday or Saturday of the break. All trips will always return – at the latest – by the Sunday before classes start again. Each trip returns at a different time of the day and week long trips may even return on different days depending on where they are driving from. For example, over spring break, one trip may return to Columbia on Friday while another might not get back until Sunday. All trips depart and return to Columbia. Students can do a “Late Arrival Agreement” to join their trip in-route or after the departure date. Students can also leave the trips early if they complete the “Early Dismissal Agreement” and pre-arrange a pick up. MAB is no longer responsible for that student as soon as they leave the trip. For more information on trip dates, please visit our Join a Trip page.
Follow your Student’s Trip
Participant Fee and Fundraising Efforts
Participant fees are $230 for a week-long trip, $300 for a 10-day summer trip, and $115 for a weekend trip. International trip fees are $1,400 and this includes the student’s flight. Participant fees are student-charged. It is important to note that MAB does not offer refunds for participants who decide to drop before the trip departs. After a students signs the “Student Charge Authorization Form” we cannot offer a refund. The form spells this out clearly. More about why this policy exists can be found in our FAQ page. MAB started a needs-based scholarship fund in 2012. When applying for MAB, students can apply for a scholarship towards their participant fee. Scholarships are awarded based on need and availability of funds.
Trips are completely funded by the participants through their fundraising efforts and their participant fee. The participant fee only covers a portion of the actual cost of the alternative break trip, the remaining cost is covered by student fundraising efforts. Our main fundraiser is a letter-writing campaign that every student participates in, but there are other group fundraisers that occur before the trips leave. If a student individually raises more than $500 we then credit back 50% of the participant fee to that student upon returning from their trip. Refunds go to the student’s MyZou account. (Important note: The 50% credit back does not apply to the International Trips because of the high total cost of the trips)
The well-being of our students is a priority. To make the trips as safe as possible we take precautions both before the trips leave and during. First, we only rent vehicles from Enterprise, Avis, and our campus fleet. Second, any person who is going to drive must follow our driving policies, the site leaders are responsible for promoting adherence to the policy. Drivers are not allowed to drive longer than 2 hours at a time to keep the drivers fresh. Also, driving between 12: 00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. is not permitted. Every driver has completed a driver’s training and signed a driver’s agreement. Per University regulations only 20-year-old drivers are permitted to drive larger vehicles. Driving safety is not our only concern. We require at least three people be together at all times, regardless of when or where they are. Site Leaders also have check-ins and should an emergency arise, they are instructed to notify us as soon as possible so we can advise them on what to do next. MAB policies are also in place to make the trips as safe as possible and it is each participant’s responsibility to adhere to MAB policies.
Site leaders and participants are advised to take precautions and be safe on these trips. If at any time they feel the work that an agency is asking them to do is too dangerous, they are advised not to perform the work until the appropriate safety measures are in place. If a student is not complying with our policies or our site leaders, we reserve the right to end their participation on the MAB trip. If a decision is made to remove a student from the trip we will not simply strand the participant. We will support the student with arranging transportation home at their own expense. In the past, we have also taken disciplinary measures when the students have returned with the Office of Student Conduct for violations of MAB policies. All expenses incurred after being removed will be the responsibility of the participants.
In the case of inclement weather, MAB reserves the right to change a trip’s travel plan, delay the trip’s return, or require an earlier return date to ensure participant safety. If you have questions regarding any changes made to your student’s trip during inclement weather, please communicate with your student who will be able to provide you with the most up to date information on their trip.
The above highlights the efforts taken to mitigate health and safety issues for alternative break participants. We are available to discuss this more if you have additional questions. You can reach the MAB Coordinator at 573-882-8585.
Throughout its years of existence, MAB has been able to have a tremendous impact on the communities and students we serve. For more information on our community impact please visit our Impact Page. To learn more about past participant’s experiences, please visit our Testimonial page.
Wrapping it Up
This page was designed to provide you more information on your student’s involvement in MAB. Students participating in MAB receive an orientation, training, and travel itineraries, which they can share with their relatives. Students also receive a family guide which they can share with their relatives. Below is our mission statement that was created by the students who lead MAB: