No shortage of adventures as Gap Semester nears midpoint

Students taking part in Elon’s Gap Semester Program have traveled an impressive distance during the first half of the fall semester.

Students have already experienced a wide range of weather throughout their journey.
The students on Elon’s Gap Semester Program have traveled an impressive distance during the first half of the semester.

Beginning their program with a 26-day wilderness expedition at the National Outdoor Leadership School in Lander, Wyoming, students then completed service weeks in both Pine Ridge, South Dakota and St. Louis, Missouri.

Students have also been fortunate to come across some unforgettable sights along the way. While driving through Yellowstone National Park, students captured pictures of a large bison crossing the road only a few feet in front of their van. Others students rave about the natural beauty of their surroundings in their blogs. 

Students will be in Harlan, Kentucky, during the week of Sept. 29 through Oct. 3 learning about the environmental and economic complexities of mountaintop removal mining. To help simulate the life and working conditions of a miner in Appalachia, students will have the opportunity to climb in caves wearing the equipment a typical miner would wear. To further this experience, students will also hear from those who work in the industry to better understand all sides of this complex issue in the United States.

Views of the country's beautiful scenery through the Gap Semester van window.
After their week in Kentucky, students will travel to Washington, D.C., to complete the final service-learning part of the trip. The week in D.C. focuses on issues surrounding homelessness as well as advocacy, activism and strategies for creating change. Following the service-learning portion, students will return home for fall break and then head off to Costa Rica for the second half of their semester.

Follow along with the Gap Program student blogs at