Student Life

Campus Ministry

Appalachian Experience

APEX LogoThank you for your interest in APEX 2016!  Due to the incredible and record-setting response from students hoping to participate, the program has reached capacity for this year faster than ever (less than 5 hours). At this time our waiting list is also full!

Great news, though- There are SO MANY other service, immersion, and retreat opportunities available here at SJU! Here are some programs that we think you might like, and links to get more information about each...

Summer Immersion Programs: Service Immersion trips to New Mexico and the Dominican Republic during Summer 2016!

Check out some pictures and information about last year's trips here:

For more information about this year's Summer Immersion Programs, please contact Colleen O'Grady at

Weekly Service: Serve with a small group of SJU students every week at a site in the Philadelphia or Camden area!

Ignite: A faith-based retreat just for SJU Freshmen, led by SJU upperclassmen!

4:16: A faith-based retreat for SJU Upperclassmen!

Collegiate Challenge: SJU-Student run immersion trips during early summer affiliated with Habitat for Humanity!

Thank you again for your interest in APEX 2016. We hope that you will apply for next year's Appalachian Experience!

Peace, Love, and APEX!


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. 

Click Here to View Each of the 17 Sites

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 to 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 and there will be a series of 3 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.


Follow us on:

FACEBOOK - The Appalachian Experience, Saint Joseph's University 


For More Information, Please Contact: 
Program Director: Matt Fullmer   Student Coordinators
Phone: 610-660-1034