Designing Your Trip

The following offers students interested in writing a Breakout Princeton Trip Proposal the tools needed to write a great application that reflects the feasibility and depth of the idea!

Choosing a feasible topic

  • The topic addresses a social justice issue in America that is current and while localized, it affects the nation at large.
  • It is important that the leaders of the trip are passionate about the topic, since they are going to be investing a significant amount of time on developing the idea.
  • A Breakout group can learn about the topic through hands-on experiences in a safe environment both for the breakout group, people addressing the issue, and individuals affected by it. The proposal demonstrates an appropriate level of sensibility and awareness.
  • Does the trip have a uniqueness factor? Try to look at the social issue through a very specific lens that students might not be already thinking about.
  • Is there a place or a partner where participants can work face to face with the issue or population?

Choosing a Location

  • Analyze and compare locations 
    • The location proposed is not only a place where the issue exists, but it is also home to different actors working to address the issue. What is unique about this town/city/region? What resources would you have to explore the topic? Are there many potential community partners?
    • Examples of these actors include: government representatives, non-profit organizations, advocacy groups, schools, etc.
  • There are unique elements of how the location interacts with the issue, but at the same time it is not the only place where the issue exists. 
  • The location is within in the United States.
  • It is suggested that potential leaders choose cities within driving distance and that alternative locations are proposed in order to strengthen the application.

Choosing Community Partners 

  • On-site organizations
    • Look for organizations that have experience with hosting volunteers, especially students. 
    • If the organization does not have a main volunteer coordinator, ask if there is anyone who can act as a liaison.
  • Campus faculty
    • Look up professors and graduate students who study the issues you’re trying to explore. Lists of graduate students are on the department website.

Choosing a Co-Leader

  • Identify your leadership style -- are you more visionary or process-oriented? Identify a co-leader who complements your leadership style and strengths.
  • Find a co-leader who is equally passionate about the issue and project.
  • It is beneficial to find a co-leader during the application process, especially in writing the application itself!

Gauging Your Personal Commitments 

  • Co-leading a Breakout trip is a 5-10 hour/week commitment at minimum per semester. 
  • Breakout demands a lot of organizational and emotional commitment. It is our expectation that Breakout is your extra-curricular priority of the semester!     

Continuum of Learning: Pre and Post-Trip Brainstorming

  • Identifying already existing resources and how they tie into the trip’s narrative.
  • Professors, staff members, on-campus organizations, academic departments, past breakout trips, 
  • Creating feasible pre-trip activities that tie into the narrative of the trip
    • TED-style talks, CBLI research, bringing in a speaker, meeting with campus groups

Telling Your Story: Developing a narrative arc for the Breakout proposal

  • The beginning of the week the main problems can be tackled, and then towards the end the trip can explore how different actors are proposing solutions to the problem.
  • The beginning of the week focuses on local manifestations of the problem and towards the end explores the national implications.
  • The beginning of the week provides a foundation in the solutions to the problem and the end offers opportunities to serve the community after having understood a bit about the issue.                   

Fiscal Responsibility: Essentials of presenting a budget

  •  Justifying the expenses given the context of the trip.
  • Could the topic be studied in a local location?
  • Make sure every expenditure is important and relevant to Breakout’s goals and mission.