Alternative Service Experience

What is Alternative Service Experience (ASE)?

ASE is a program that brings together a community of people who dedicate their university breaks to enact positive social change in the world, participate in experiential education and explore new communities. Through pre and post travel classes, direct service and reflection students, staff and faculty engage in transformative experiential education. Groups work with a variety of community partners on a host of initiatives that address hunger, poverty, environmental preservation, women's empowerment, and many, many more. In short, ASE participants find fulfillment in selfless acts and are challenged to live alternatively.

Apply to be a 2017 Peer Leader

Spring Info Sessions

  • Monday, January 25th  6:00 pm - 7:00 pm   Highsmith 221
  • Tuesday, February 2nd  6:00 pm - 7:00 pm   Highsmith 221

Meet our ASE Peer Leaders!

ASE Program Structure


Each program consists of 8 student participants. There are no class or major restrictions for any ASE program. Participation is on a first-come, first served basis. Please see below for more sign-up information. 

Peer Leaders

Each ASE program is planned and lead by two student leaders, known as Peer Leaders. Peer leaders are responsible for planning all aspects of the program including recruitment, logistics, budget preparation and implementation, reflection, pre-travel preparation and post-travel re-orientation. Peer Leaders must complete the application and interview process. 

Learning Partners

Each program includes one staff/faculty who serves as a mentor and support person for the Peer Leaders. These individuals are referred to as Learning Partners and work to support Peer Leaders in the pre-travel preparation, on-program support and post-travel re-orientation. Read more about the role and expectations of Learning Partners. 


Sign-Ups for these programs is on a first-come, first-served basis. Participants are given a number when they arrive which determines their sign-up order. All are encouraged to rank the programs being offered according to their preference so that they can quickly make a decision if their first choice program fills before their number is called. All programs offer exciting and engaging opportunities. We encourage everyone to remain open minded and positive as everyone will have an enjoyable ASE!  

  • ASE: Spring Break 2016 - Sign ups: Wednesday February, 17th  9:15 pm - 10:15 pm

Spring Break Programs


Spring Break 2016

Info Sessions

Monday, January 25th  6:00 pm - 7:00 pm   Highsmith 221

Tuesday, February 2nd  6:00 pm - 7:00 pm   Highsmith 221

Learn more information about each of the upcoming ASE trips. 

Sign Up Date

Wednesday, February 17th  9:15 pm - 10:15 pm  Highsmith 221

Sign up is on a first come first basis, so if there is a specific trip you'd like to go on be sure to show up early! Things needed for sign up:

  • $100 deposit 
  • Scanned copy of your insurance card
  • Scanned copy of your OneCard 


Each ASE program costs $200 and includes all housing, travel, food and activities for the week!
The $100 non-refundable deposit due at sign-up and is applied to the overall cost.


Organization: Jones Valley Urban Farm - Birmingham, Alabama 

Social Justice Issue: Urban farming

Peer Leaders: Echo Bennink and JaNesha Slaughter

Program Description:

The mission of this program is to engage participants with a community to build a future. Jones Valley Teaching Farm aims to educate students through responsive programs that meet the needs of individual learners and entire school communities. They also utilize public schools as a hub to offer a range of services and learning opportunities to communities and between the students teachers and families of the public schools. Participants will engage with the organization to experience how community gardening and healthy lifestyles can affect communities in a positive way.

Organization: Lost-N-Found Youth - Atlanta, Georgia 

Social Justice Issue: LGBTQ+

Peer Leaders: Jose Zapata and Brooke Farmer

Program Description:

This spring break we will be heading to Lost-N-Found Youth (LNFY), an organization in Atlanta that works with LGBTQ+ youth to get them off the streets and into permanent housing. Lost-N-Found serves as a 24/7 safe space for LGBT youth ages 13 to 25, and their staff also actively searches for homeless youth in order to provide help. On our alternative service trip, we will spend a couple of days working in the thrift-store, which serves as funding for LNFY, while we also have conversations with some of the full time employees that work with the homeless youth. We will also attend a volunteer orientation session to prepare us to spend the following days working with the youth. Lastly, we have a free day planned so we can explore the city of Atlanta.  This is an opportunity to lend a hand to our peers in need and to learn more about what it means to give meaningful service.




Organization: The Nature Conservancy - Nags Head, North Carolina 

Social Justice Issue: Environmental preservation

Peer Leaders: Hannah Wiepke and Mandy Nix

Program Description: 

If you’d like to spend spring break doing some good, come out of your shell for a week in the woods! Come help us serve at  Nags Head Woods Preserve. While working with and for the Nature Conservancy in Nags Head, you can help preserve and restore over 1,400 acres of the largest intact maritime forest on the east coast. Join us for a week of ecosystem renewal projects, which range from the maintenance of over eight miles of hiking trails to the removal of exotic species in the surrounding wetlands. Become part of the efforts to retain the pristine and wild beauty of Nags Head, North Carolina.

Fall Break Programs


Fall Break 2016


Each ASE: Fall Break program costs $125 and includes all housing, travel, food and activities!
$80 non-refundable deposit is due at sign-up and will be applied to the total cost.

Information Sessions 

  • Tuesday, September 6th - 8:00 PM - Highsmith Union 224


  • Wednesday, September 14 at 9:15 PM - Highsmith Union 224

Items REQUIRED for sign-up

  • $80 non-refundable deposit (deposit will be applied to total program cost)
  • Student ID Card
  • Copy of insurance card or proof of UNCA insurance


The elephant sanctuary logo

Organization: The Elephant Sanctuary - Hohenwald, Tennessee

Social Justice Issue: Animal Rights/Advocacy

Peer Leaders: Amanda Slater and Tsaiwei Cheng

Program Description:

Interested in spending your Fall Break working with some of the most amazing animals on the planet? Join us as we take an adventure to the Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tennessee. The Sanctuary is 2700 acres, making it the largest safe space in the nation for elephants that are retired from zoos and circuses. It is entirely state of the art and perfectly designed to meet the needs of sick and old elephants that needed rescuing and a peaceful place to live. Sign up for this trip to serve not just the elephants, but also the amazing Sanctuary that gives them a home.