The Appalachian Experience

March 10th, 2023 - March 18th, 2023

Students at a farm

What is APEX?

 The Appalachian Experience offers an experience of community that serves with and for others. Rooted in the pillars of community, kinship/solidarity, education, reflection, justice and encounter, APEX sends hundreds of students to more than 10 communities in Central Appalachia each year. The Appalachian Experience offers an experience of community that serves with and for others.  

The Appalachian Experience (APEX) is a Spring Break service/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 community-building, all of which lead toward the spring break immersion experience in which they seek to learn, serve, and grow in relationship with the communities in Appalachia that they encounter.  Upon returning from Appalachia, participants meet several times to continue to reflect on and integrate their experiences, both within the SJU community and into their individual lives.

Mission of The Appalachian Experience

The Appalachian Experience (APEX) is dedicated to immersing in the region of Appalachia, and encountering the communities who call Appalachia home.  APEX invites students to build community both on campus and with the people of the Appalachian region through an encounter of kinship and service, and to continue living in solidarity upon return.  

APEX is guided by the mission of Saint Joseph’s University, and the Catholic Jesuit tradition.  Our primary areas of focus are on the the Ignatian Values of:


Solidarity and kinship is recognizing the common bond of humanity we share with all people and the responsibility we have to work for the good of all. This includes "Cura Personalis", the commitment to caring for the whole person.


Invites us to pause and consider the world around us and our place within it, furthering the faith, spirituality, and inner life of all participants.


Service rooted in justice and love is committing ourselves to always be mindful of those who suffer injustice and to live in a way that supports the well-being of all people .


Committing to education and action concerning the issues of poverty and injustice in the region.

APEX Documentary


In this short documentary, director Jeffrey Wallin ’10 and producer Matt Fullmer ’17 (MBA) spend time with SJU volunteers and the people of the Appalachian region to learn what makes the program so special.

Next Steps

Students at a farm

Information for Participants

Information for Participants

Learn more about being a participant in our program. Including information on what to expect, how to sign up, and what to pack!

APEX Students Eating Dinner Outside

Information for Alumni

Information for Alumni

Information for alumni on how you can stay connected with the APEX community!


Justice and Advocacy Resources

Justice and Advocacy Resources

View resources for advocating for those in the Appalachian region.

Questions? Please contact our team