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Undergraduate Student Life

Processes and Funding Model

Project Leaders

Project Leaders are the two people who have submitted the final proposal and accepted the responsibility for the organization and leadership of a civic engagement trip. It is required that a team has two Project Leaders. 

Healthy teams work together and share a vision, responsibilities, and leadership roles. Teams have autonomy in terms of how they want to organize themselves. For example, teams may choose to use a horizontal organizational structure that uses consensus decision-making. Regardless, a team must designate two Project Leaders that assume responsibility for working with the ABP to ensure the success of the team.

Project Leader Responsibilities

We’re excited that you’re interested in organizing and leading a civic engagement project with the ABP! It could potentially be a life-changing experience for you, your team, the community with which you will work and even the communities of which you are a part.

Organizing and running an ABP trip, however, is a lot of work and responsibility. Below is a list of what is expected of you as a Project Leader.

As the group’s organizer and leader, you will be responsible for:

  • Ensuring the group follows all ABP policies and procedures, including adhering to deadlines and attending trainings
  • Working with other ABP project leaders to share ideas, brainstorn solutions to challenges, and provide support to each other
  • Recruiting and developing your team
  • Establishing and completing your team’s goals for the trip
  • Working with the sponsor organization
  • Building and adhering to a budget
  • Securing the funding required for the trip

ABP Student Advisory Board

The ABP is a student-led and administrator-managed program. The students who lead the program make up the ABP Advisory Board.

The Board is made up of four Columbia University students from the various schools. The Chair is the primary leader for the ABP. The Board works with the project leaders to develop their civic engagement projects and review and evaluate project proposals and recommend various levels of financial support to Student Engagement staff. 

The ABP Chair and Student Engagement staff operate the program so that students – board members, team leaders, project participants – learn about, and strive to practice the Student Engagement Civic Competencies. They ensure that the ABP is a living laboratory for the 5 Pathways to Service, fostering the idea that we all have a responsibility to our various communities and that those who seek to serve think through and employ the form(s) of civic engagement that will best address a particular community challenge.

The ABP Chair and Student Engagement staff are committed to a strong student-leadership development model that fosters student creativity, independence, responsibility, program ownership and the cultivation of a healthy program culture. This model encourages enthusiastic, conscientious and humble service, where the students work with and learn from the individuals and communities they seek to serve. Lastly, they must ensure that the program operates in a way that keeps the safety of all involved at its center.

Funding Model

ABP will purchase international or domestic flights for projects, or domestic rental cars through Hertz. The ABP will purchase travel for teams of up to six people. The ABP Student Advisory Board and the Student Engagement staff will evaluate each proposal to determine how many team members a project requires and will then purchase the travel for that many team members up to six people. 

Teams from recognized student groups need written confirmation from their group's president that the team can use the group's account to deposit funds into and spend funds out of. In so doing, the president is acknowledging that the group is taking financial responsibility for the team's actions.

Independent teams must use an ABP account to deposit funds raised specifically to support the project. These groups can also spend out of this account for project-related expenses. 

Nonrefundable contributions must be submitted to the ABP by each team member. The Project Leaders are required to deposit their nonrefundable contributions by the first workshop. Other team members are required to deposit their nonrefundable contributions by the second workshop.  

International projects require a $100 nonrefundable contribution.

Domestic projects require a $50 nonrefundable contribution. 

Alternative Break Program


515 Alfred Lerner Hall
2920 Broadway
New York, NY 10027

Call: 212-854-1371

Fax: 212-854-6972

9:00 a.m.–5:00p.m.