What is the Appalachian Experience?
The Appalachian Experience is a Spring Break immersion program that is committed to serving with and for others while learning about the culture and concerns of the people of the Appalachian region. Participants will meet together several times throughout the year for preparation, education, and team-building, all of which lead toward the spring break immersion experience.
For over 23 years, Saint Joseph's University has been sending students to the Appalachian Region. This year, 500 undergraduate students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends will travel to 17 different sites with the same intentions of maintaining the same mission as the students who have served before them.
Appalachian Experience Mission Statement:
The Appalachian Experience is a service immersion experience dedicated to the region of Appalachia, guided by the mission of Saint Joseph’s University, and the Catholic Jesuit tradition by:
- Recognizing the unconditional and universal human dignity in all creation;
- Fostering community growth in the spirit of solidarity;
- Committing to education and action concerning the issues of poverty and injustice in the region;
- Furthering the personal growth of the participants;
- Challenging ourselves to understand the past, experience the present, and look forward with hope to the future.
Appalachian Experience FAQs:
1. What will I be doing there?
Work depends on each site. Typically, the work entails house building, painting, mulching, or concrete laying. After work, there will be free-time to build community with each other. In addition, there is one cultural day to learn about the community you are visiting.
2. How much does the trip cost?
When submitting the application, there is a $100 deposit fee. The participant then must raise an additional $350 through fundraising and letter-writing.
3. What do I pack?
Each set of site leaders will be sending out a packing list to each participant. Typically, it is one suitcase/duffel bag and a small carry-on bag. Some items include: Jeans, boots, work-shirts, hats, gloves, and clothes to wear after each day.
4. Do I need to be religious?
We acknowledge that students are coming in from various paths of life and simply ask each participant to be open to the experience and to others. The program is run out of Campus Ministry, so leaders have been prepared by the Campus Ministry staff to provide participants with a series of 4 reflections throughout the week.
5. If my son or daughter gets hurt, will they be treated properly?
Yes. Before the trip, we collect each particpant's insurance information. In addition, each Leader and Adult Facilitator will have all the information regarding the closest hospital, police station, and all Saint Joseph's University contacts. If your son or daughter gets hurt, they will be taken care of immediately.