How do I apply?
Great question! Just click HERE to join a break.
How much does the trip cost?
For most week long trips, the student fee is $200. International trips or domestic trips that use air travel will vary in cost. Alternative Weekends are FREE!
How are the trips funded?
The fees charged only cover a portion of the total trip costs. The remainder is funded through USD’s General Activity Fees, departmental funds contributed by the Center for Academic & Global Engagement, and student fundraising. Expenses include transportation, food, housing, program fees, and even money for a fun activity on the trip.
Where do we go?
AWOL domestic trips travel all across the country, to destinations both near and far. Since students apply for particular social issues rather than locations, you won’t know exactly where you’re going until you apply and are selected for a trip. Click HERE to see where we have gone in the past.
How will my destination be decided?
When you apply for the AWOL program, you will rank the social issues you would like to learn more about while on your alternative break. The AWOL Executive Board and site leaders will review the application packets and decide who will work best on which trips. If selected, you will then be notified as to which trip you will be going on and where you’re headed.
Are alcohol or drugs allowed?
No. USD AWOL is a University-sponsored program, and alcohol and drugs are prohibited at all times (regardless of a student’s age).
How safe are the trips?
The well-being of our students is our number one concern. To make the trips as safe as possible we take precautions from the first stages of trip planning until all participants return home. We only use vehicles from the State of South Dakota Fleet and Travel service, which are well-maintained and supported with 24/7 service as needed. Drivers are registered through the Center for Academic & Global Engagement and must strictly follow all travel policies, which ban the use of cell phones while at the wheel and limit the number of hours any one driver can be on the road.
Driving safety is not our only concern. We also have policies in place to make sure students are safe at their service location, in their housing, and at all other times. All participants are closely supervised by trained site leaders and required to be in groups of at least three participants at all times, regardless of when or where they are. Site leaders regularly check in with staff members of the Center for Academic & Global Engagement 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. If at anytime the site leader feels that the work an organization is asking them to do is too dangerous, they are able to pull the students out of that situation. If a student is not complying with our policies or our site leaders, we reserve the right to exit the student from the trip and return them back to campus (at their expense). This is to ensure the safety of the entire group.
Do you go anywhere outside of the US?
Yes. Over winter break we now send students and an advisor on an international trip to central America.
Should I bring any money on my trip?
Sure! Even though your transportation, lodging, and food will be provided while at your destination, you may wish to purchase snacks while traveling or buy souvenirs. Your site leader will discuss an appropriate amount to bring during the pre-trip meetings.
Why should I participate in an AWOL trip?
This may be one of the most rewarding experience you can have as a student at USD. But don’t just take our word for it…read what your fellow students have to say HERE.
What is the commitment to join?
Joining AWOL goes far beyond the week long trips we offer each winter, spring, and summer break. AWOL is a year-long program
Who should I contact if I have additional questions?
You can always email AWOL@usd.edu if you have any questions, comments, or concerns. Emailing is a great way to find out what events are coming up, how to get involved, or when applications will be coming out next!