What is IMPACT's mission?
The mission of the IMPACT program is to engage University of Georgia students in an affordable experiential service learning project that encourages an understanding of pressing social issues in a significant way. IMPACT addresses community needs through direct and indirect service and provides students with education about the presence of social issues in our own country. By providing new perspectives and hearing the stories of others, participants gain invaluable experiences that bring us together.
IMPACT began at UGA in 1994 with a group of students interested in spending the week of spring break engaged in community service as opposed to traditional college spring break. Since the beginning of the program, over 3,000 UGA students have participated in our service break trips and traveled across the United States to participate in meaningful service projects that benefit the communities in which they work. With the onset of the COVID pandemic in 2020, IMPACT LOCALs were introduced as a way to continue service in the Athens area and mitigate large-scale travel risks. Each year, the program continues to grow in size and popularity.
As a result of participating in an IMPACT trip, Participants will be able to
1. Articulate a service-mindedness perspective that addresses the roles of reflection, dialogue, education, and direct service
2. Identify connections between their social identities, personal lived experiences, service experience, and underlying social issues
3. Establish meaningful relationships with fellow UGA students
4. Recognize the importance of reorientation via continuing advocacy & activism efforts in the Athens area
As a result of leading an IMPACT trip, Site Leaders will be able to
1. Construct positive team dynamics that encourage respect, open-mindedness, vulnerability, and kindness among all
2. Understand and apply the social justice concepts of power, privilege, and oppression in a service-learning lens to integrate into all aspects of a trip
3. Demonstrate awareness of one’s own social position (i.e. intersection of social identities) with one’s trip focus
4. Practice leadership ability through extensively planning a service trip, facilitating reflective dialogues with peers about social issues, actively reflecting and adapting to changes, and applying risk management protocols when necessary
Frequently Asked Questions
IMPACT is a one-of-a-kind program at UGA facilitated by Engagement, Leadership, and Service that provides service trips over Fall & Spring Break for students to lead by serving a community in the Southeast. Serving as part of an IMPACT team will help you make connections to what you’re learning in the classroom, give you a view of the Southeast outside of Athens, and help you learn more about social issues in multiple communities. What do you want your impact to be?
The service that each IMPACT team will be doing is unique to each trip, since it is affected by the trip location and the issue that each trip addresses. Your site leader will communicate the kind of service your team is planning to complete before the trip so that you can request any accommodations and plan to pack clothes that will make it comfortable for you to engage completely in service. Previous service included cooking food for people experiencing homelessness, staffing events, cleaning up a lake beach, and weeding a community garden.
Lodging for each trip is different, but all sites will have necessities like kitchens, showers, etc. Additionally, most food will be cooked or prepared onsite by participants (like you!), and these menus will be planned ahead of time by your site leaders. Please provide any allergies, dietary needs and/or restrictions in this application so that our site leaders can best plan out these menus. You can also bring or purchase snacks if you would like!
We are more than happy to accommodate for dietary restrictions and sensitivities! Make your Site Leaders aware of these needs in advance so they can be properly noted within the trip’s food budget.
Besides transporting yourself to the trip departure location on campus (usually a parking lot close to Tate Student Center), you will not be required to drive the van on this trip!
Fall Break trips cost $75.
Spring Break Trips vary in cost based on each location.
*Note: it is very important that you pay for your trip on time. Failure to pay by the deadline shared by your Site Leader could result in being dropped from the trip.
Your trip fee covers all transportation, housing, and grocery costs outlined in each unique trip. The only costs not included are quick meals on travel days and voluntary purchases such as souvenirs.
All of our trip payments are made online through the TouchNet IMPACT store. Select your listed trip and follow the instructions to complete payment. The online store accepts the following methods of payment: American Express, Discover, Mastercard, Visa, & webCheck.
All payments to IMPACT are nonrefundable.
Yes, we do offer opportunities for waived trip fees! The IMPACT trip fee assistance waiver serves to offer a select number of UGA students the chance to attend an IMPACT trip with little to no associated costs. Selection is based on expressed needs, and the application review will have no identifying information attached in order to protect the privacy of the applicants. Only the staff Program Director awarding the waived fee to selected individuals will have access to names on applications.
Further instructions for applying to the trip fee assistance waiver can be found within the Participant Application.
No, participants cannot switch or change trip placements. You also cannot be added to the waitlist for another trip. You do have the option to drop, but we highly encourage talking to the trip Site Leaders and staff Program Director prior to doing so.
This experience is intended to stretch your comfort level, so while we try our best to match you with your preferred trip, you will learn many valuable things no matter the social issue focus and location!
Any spots that open on trips will be offered formally to those on the waitlist.
We require all participants to complete a few waivers prior to leaving for their trip. The following will be distributed through Site Leaders, and a reminder will be given at the All Participant Meeting:
- Release, Waiver of Liability, & Covenant not to Sue
- Medical Form (through Involvement Network)
- Background Check (automatically sent through HR)
Additionally, if you have a valid driver’s license and are interested in serving as a volunteer driver for a university vehicle, your Site Leader can provide information on the process & necessary paperwork.
Yes! Your Site Leaders will schedule pre-trip meetings, which will highlight both educational content and social opportunities. The purpose of pre-trip meetings is to build a positive team dynamic prior to trip departure.
For our LOCAL trips, you will be staying in your own residence, so no packing for travel is required.
For Fall Break and Spring Break trips, your Site Leaders will provide you with a specific list in your pre-trip meetings. Housing arrangements vary by location, so while beds may be provided, others may suggest bringing an air mattress.
The only items not covered in your trip fee are quick meals during travel times. Site Leaders can provide an estimate of this cost.
Additionally, trips will have scheduled time for cultural experiences and exploration of the city they are serving. You may want to bring funds for souvenirs if desired. Again, Site Leaders can provide insight on an estimate based on the scheduled experiences.
On the Trip
Every trip is unique, but typically, you can expect to do between 4-8 hours of direct service each day of your trip. Your Site Leaders will leave ample time for breaks, and there will be scheduled cultural experiences so you can see the local area! Reflection is held at the end of every day, which gives you the opportunity to personally reflect on the day as well as communicate with your teammates about connections that you are seeing related to the social issue focus.
All trips will utilize University of Georgia vehicles. They will be 7-passenger or 15-passenger vans, so be mindful when packing for a traveling trip.
In very few circumstances, there may be opportunities for parents or friends of UGA to host a meal or participate in service with a trip. These opportunities depend on several factors including trip location, schedule, service site volunteer needs, and needs for meals. However, you cannot leave to meet any family or friends while you are on the trip.
In short, all participants are expected to remain with the group for the duration of the trip and cannot meet up with people outside of the trip.
We encourage all participants and Site Leaders bring their full selves to the trip and solely focus on the experience. However, we understand that it might be helpful to do school work on the trip in order to stay on track with your academics. Most of this lenience will depend on your trip’s schedule. Site Leaders can inform you on the downtime when this may be possible.
No, each trip will travel together to and from the trip site. We are unable to allow anyone to travel separately except in case of emergency or formal dismissal from the trip.
No. The IMPACT program is a substance-free, tobacco-free, and alcohol-free experience. Regardless of age, you will not be able to do so while on the trip under any circumstances. Failure to comply will result in formal dismissal from the trip, where you will be required to pay for your trip back to Athens.
Absolutely! Our goal is that you continue service-mindedness when you return from your trip, so Site Leaders will be planning post-trip service with local community partners.
You can also continue to meet socially with members of your team, please do so! Eating lunch at Bolton and want a buddy? Send a message in your team’s GroupMe! Looking for someone to go to the Farmer’s Market with you? Text your Site Leader and teammates to join you!
We are so excited to hear that you enjoyed your experience and want to take the next step in IMPACT involvement! Site Leaders for the next academic year are recruited in the early spring semester, so check with your trip’s Site Leader.