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Alternative Student Breaks - POP

Welcome! We're excited for you to join the ASB family as you participate in POP. Important information is included below regarding your participation, so be sure to read through it all, complete action items, and note dates for travel.  Still have questions after reading through? Contact New Student & Family Programs at 847-467-3988 or


ASB Checklist

All ASB participants must complete the below items by the respective due date before your registration is considered complete.

To Do

Due Date

  • Complete payment or accept your fee waiver and 
  • Submit your social issue ranking, and subsequent questions
    • In the payment form you will submit by July 1, there is a section to provide your interest level in each of the 6 sites and social issues for ASB. You will provide your interest level for each of the sites on a scale from 1-5 (1 meaning you would strongly dislike working this site and 5 meaning you would love to work at this site). You will be notified of your site placement via email.

July 1 at 11:59 p.m. CDT

Summer Communication to Expect from ASB

Arrival Day Info


Check-in for ASB  between 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. CDT on Tuesday, September 10 in the Great Room located at 600 Haven Street, Evanston, IL 60201

Getting to Campus

Most students travel to campus on September 10 for POP by themselves or will have family members or friends drop them off (we cannot provide you on-campus parking while you're out on ASB, so do not drive to campus alone).

If you're arriving to Chicago by plane, below are a few transportation options from the airport.

What to Pack

Due to the nature of ASB-POP Trips, all participants must pack light as you will only be able to bring one luggage item with you (think a small carry on bag like a duffel or larger backpack). Please try not to bring a rolling suitcase as space is limited in the vehicle you will be traveling in.

Clothes: Be prepared for indoor and outdoor work!

Storage While on ASB and Planning for Move-In Day

You can bring an additional suitcase/bag that we can store for you on campus for move-in. This one item will be locked so that your belongings are safe and secure. You are not able to bring all of your items for move-in day until that day on September 16.  All POP participants will move-in on Monday, September 16, regardless of residence hall location. For move-in, most participants will work with family or friends to have them bring items for your room on September 16, or will ship their items in advance using USS Ship-To-School Program (listed in Purple Prep). 

If your family is planning to help you move into your residence hall on September 16, you can plan to meet them as early as 8 a.m. on Monday, September 16. Residential Services will provide you with an opportunity to select your unloading time later in the summer if you need to pull up a car to your residence for unloading; we suggest you choose a time no earlier than 9:00 a.m. so you have a bit of time between the end of ASB and moving.

What to Expect on ASB-POP

Learning about a Social Issue

During your ASB trip, one of the biggest things you will do is learn more about a specific social issue. You will volunteer at a non-profit for 3 days. This will include serving the organization while learning from people closest to the issue. You'll talk to the people who work at the non-profit and people served by your non-profit. You will also engage in daily discussions about your site and the topic in general with your group each evening. 

Connection and Reflection

Two student leaders, known as facilitators, will be leading your trip and they will be able to answer questions you have about life at Northwestern. Facilitators will serve as mentors on the trip and throughout your time at Northwestern. Your trip leaders will guide you through personal reflection and activities to help you think about what you want out of your Northwestern experience and to build community with other participants (five to seven) in your small group.  In addition, you'll also be connecting with another ASB small group by cooking together, exploring the city you are in, and staying in the same housing accommodations.

ASB Schedule Example



Tuesday, September 10

Check-in between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. on campus, meet your group, learn about your site, prepare for your trip, and depart campus!

Wednesday, September 10 - Friday, September 13

Work at your non-profit for about 6-7 hours each day with your small group.  In the evenings, you'll get to make dinner with your group, have group discussions, hang out, and explore the city.

Saturday, September 14

City exploration day! After working with the non-profit for the last few days, you’ll have the opportunity to explore different areas of the city. Usually groups will explore a museum/zoo/botanical garden/landmark in the city and then have a nice lunch or dinner out. 

Sunday, September 15

We'll wake up, eat breakfast, and then head back to campus. You'll be able to hear about student wellness from community members and Northwestern staff, in addition to learning about how you can remain civically engaged during your time at Northwestern. In the evening, we'll have activities set up to learn more about what the other trips did, and you'll have the opportunity to explore campus and Evanston with all of your new friends! We'll stay overnight on campus the night before move-in day. 

Monday, September 16

New Student Move-in Day! Watch the sunrise with your ASB community and get pumped for Wildcat Welcome. If your family is bringing your belongings to help you move in, you can plan to meet them beginning at 8 a.m., but again we suggest not scheduling your move-in time until 9 a.m. so you can have some time to move from place to place. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Still have questions? Visit our
frequently asked questions page or send us an email at