Higher education institutions in the United States sponsor alternative breaks to give students an opportunity to assist underserved communities during spring and fall/winter breaks. As students address social issues during alternative breaks, many are likely to commit themselves to long-term involvement in community service. This article is based on research conducted at a public, comprehensive university in Western North Carolina. Case study methods were used to explore the learning/development outcomes of the university's alternative break program and the influence of alternative break experiences on students' continued involvement in civic activities. The research revealed that, despite the limitations of short-term service projects, students who participated in alternative breaks became sensitive to social issues and seemed committed to community causes. Three specific recommendations are offered. Among them, reflection is highlighted as a process designed to help students derive meaning from their experiences and develop positive attitudes to civic engagement.