Office of Student Life

Leadership and Community Engagement

Buck-I-SERV

Buck-I-SERV is Ohio State University’s Alternative Break Program. Beginning as a student initiative with a single trip in 2003, Buck-I-SERV has grown to provide over 1,000 trips in the past 20 years to over 16 states and five countries. 

About Buck-I-SERV 

Buck-I-SERV provides students with a challenging and engaging opportunity to lead and learn through direct service experiences. Our alternative breaks are weeklong, substance-free programs centered on community service and civic engagement which are offered during winter, spring, and summer academic breaks. As a part of the Leadership and Community Engagement team within the Office of Student Life, Buck-I-SERV is graciously supported in part by the Student Activity Fee which offsets participations costs for all Columbus campus students. Each trip consists of 10 to 20 participants including student leaders and a professional advisor who are trained to lead and facilitate a successful and impactful alternative break experience. 

Get Involved with Buck-I-SERV 

Student Participants 

Students participating in Buck-I-SERV will learn the importance of self-reflection, social justice, active citizenship, and civic engagement while gaining new perspectives through engaging with and working in diverse environments. Participants will also be meeting community needs, building on community assets, and forming meaningful relationships with community members and partners. Buck-I-SERV participants will gain valuable personal experiences and professional skills that will be brought back to campus and beyond. 

Student Leaders 

Buck-I-SERV provides additional opportunities for students to gain invaluable leadership skills and experiences through a short-term commitment as a trip leader or a long-term commitment as a board member. Trip leaders are trained in facilitation, reflection, organizational, and team building skills to successfully and meaningfully lead a Buck-I-SERV trip. These leaders are trained and guided by a board of Buck-I-SERV students who dedicate a year to the successful implementation of all aspects of the alternative break program. 

Faculty/Staff Advisors 

Advisors support student leaders, manage and document trip finances, connect participants with alumni, and fully participate in the alternative break experience. Ohio State University faculty, staff, or graduate students are eligible to become trip advisors. Advisors are fully trained in Buck-I-SERV financial and risk management processes and participate in the trip at no additional expense. Prospective advisors should consult with their departments on how an alternative break may be accommodated with time off as appropriate. 

Give to Buck-I-SERV 

  • Buck-I-SERV Program Support FundSupports, expands, and improves the alternative breaks program by offsetting costs for all student participants and allowing for the expansion of service opportunities. 
  • Buck-I-SERV Travel Assistance FundSupports travel costs for students participating in Buck-I-SERV through need based grants to cover the full or partial cost of a student’s participation fee. 
  • Buck-I-SERV Disaster Assistance FundSupports service trips to areas affected by natural disasters, crises, or unexpected need with the goal to create a sustained relationship with communities beyond the initial response. 

Learn more about how you can financially support Buck-I-SERV and available financial support for students.

Learn More About Buck-I-SERV