Student Comments

ASB can allow some great networking opportunities as well as invaluable hands-on experience that might not be realized otherwise - especially when working in an online environment.

Really good way to get experience, the repositories love having you, helps you decide if archives is a career path worth taking.

It gives one a look into the real work done after school is complete. I would recommend students do it every spring if possible.

It's a great opportunity. I never stepped foot in an archives nor did I have any classes dealing with archives, but now I feel confident that I'll be able to complete the program without hang-ups.

Alternative Spring Break

Alternative Spring Break (ASB) is a non-credit, volunteer career development program which places interested and motivated online and onsite MLIS and CAS students in archives during the week of spring break. Students are placed in archives where they gain hands-on experience and network with professionals. Participation requires that students commit to volunteering 30 hours during the week (Monday-Friday) of spring break.



Apply by January 30th
Application forms are located in the Alternative Spring Break D2L site.
Registrar's Calendar

Spring Break Dates 

Consult the Registrar’s Calendar to look up spring break dates.


For questions, please contact  (

Application Materials

Alternative Spring Break Application (pdf | docx)
Travel Stipend Application (pdf | docx)


Frequently Asked Questions

What is Alternative Spring Break?

During the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s spring break SOIS students in the MLIS or the CAS in Archives and Records Administration programs have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in an archives. Students volunteer 30 hours, get practical experience working in an archives and provide the archives with much-needed assistance on a specific task.

Who can participate in Alternative Spring Break?

Students enrolled in the Master of Library and Information Science program and students enrolled in the Certificate of Advanced Studies in Archives and Records Administration program can participate.

Why do I need to enroll in or take INFOST 650 to participate?

INFOST 650 provides students the necessary background and knowledge about archival practices that will ensure a beneficial experience for both the students and the repositories where they work..

Can online students participate in Alternative Spring Break?

Yes, Alternative Spring Break is for both online and onsite students. We try to place students in archives near their homes, though students do have the opportunity to travel to certain repositories.

Where and how do I sign up to participate?

The Alternative Spring Break application, the Travel Stipend application, and other documents are available above. If you have questions please contact (

What is the deadline for applying for Alternative Spring Break?

Applications for Alternative Spring Break are due by Friday, January 30th, 2015.

I am interested in participating at an archives that is in a different state or city than I live in. Can I go to that archives for Alternative Spring Break?

Yes, if students want to travel to a repository in a different state or city they are encouraged to do so. Please indicate where you are interested in participating on your Alternative Spring Break application and we will help you with your placement. The only reason this would not be possible is if the archives could not host a student during Alternative Spring Break.

If I travel to participate in Alternative Spring Break who coordinates and pays for my travel?

Students are fully responsible for planning and paying for their own transportation, housing, food, and any other expenses during Alternative Spring Break. Students are encouraged to apply for the Alternative Spring Break Travel Stipend which provides 10 students up to $300 to pay for travel, mileage, or housing. Student who travel for Alternative Spring Break have stayed with friends or family, hostels, etc.

Who contacts the archivists at the repositories to set up the Alternative Spring Break placements?

The Archival Program Specialist, will contact the archivist at the repositories.

Do I need to be pursing the Archival Studies Concentration within my MLIS to participate?

No, we encourage all MLIS students interested in volunteering in archives to participate. We want to help you get as much hands-on experience as possible. Getting experience will help you when you apply for jobs.

When is Alternative Spring Break?

Alternative Spring Break is during the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s spring break, Monday – Friday ONLY. See the Registrar’s Calendar for spring break dates:

How many hours do I have to volunteer for Alternative Spring Break?

Alternative Spring Break participants must volunteer for 30 hours during the week of UW-Milwaukee’s spring break. This is usually 6 hours per day for 5 days. Usually students volunteer during “business hours,” somewhere between 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM. the exact hours of work will depend on the repository.

Can I get credit for Alternative Spring Break?

No, you cannot get credit, it is a volunteer program.

Can I get paid for Alternative Spring Break?

No, you cannot get paid, ASB it is a volunteer program.

If I can not get credit and can not get paid, then what are the benefits of Alternative Spring Break?

It is an opportunity to network with professionals, gain hands-on archival experience in a short amount of time, and try something new. This experience looks great on resumes and could set you apart from others when applying for professional positions and internships.

Is Alternative Spring Break competitive, meaning, do some students that apply not get placed in an archives?

No, Alternative Spring Break is an opportunity open to all MLIS and CAS students. We want to help you get as much hands-on experience as you can and work hard to find a placement for every student that applies to participate. The only way a student would not be able to participate would be if they do not live near any archives and cannot travel to any other archives, or if the archives they live near cannot host them – then it would be logistically impossible for the student to participate.

How are students placed in archives?

The Alternative Spring Break Coordinator and students work together to identify archives of interest to students. The archives are contacted to see if they are able to host students. Most archives are able to host students as volunteers, though some cannot for company policy reasons, schedule conflicts, or other reasons.

If I participate in Alternative Spring Break, is there a way I could continue to volunteer at the archives?

It depends on the archives, but quite a few students have stayed on as volunteers at the archives where they were placed for Alternative Spring Break. If you would like to continue as a volunteer just ask the archivist to see if that is possible.