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Back-to-school for Augsburg students means spending a semester canoeing from St. Paul to New Orleans

In nation’s first-ever River Semester, students starting Sept. 1 will paddle, study, research, and live on the Mississippi River

Augsburg College River Semester: Augsburg College on Sept. 1 will launch the nation’s first-ever River Semester. Students, who will earn as many as 16 credits, will travel the length of the Mississippi River from St. Paul to New Orleans in 24-foot voyageur canoes.

This hands-on, interdisciplinary learning experience begins in St. Paul on Sept. 1 and concludes Dec. 17 when students will arrive back home at the St. Paul Union Depot.

In addition to doing River Semester Coursework, the group of 16 students will conduct hands-on research and projects during the semester. During the semester, students will:

  • Conduct a field research project on a topic such as water pollution, the Clean Water Act, agriculture in the watershed, political organizing around environmental issues, race relations and social justice, or urban riverfront revitalization.
  • Explore the history, literature, food, music, and culture of the Mississippi River.
  • Gain skills tailored to fit the needs of partner businesses and institutions including graduate schools, nonprofits, and government agencies.
  • Attend town hall meetings and meet with environmental organizations along the river.
  • Hear from guest lecturers on Twain and Faulkner, ancient river civilizations, American Indian communities and their fight for justice, and the Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico.

An overview of the trip can be found on the River Semester website.

Members of the public and attendees of the event are invited to join the Sept. 1 send-off by paddling from Harriet Island to the South St. Paul boat launch at 494. This paddling experience lasts about two hours and is free of charge. Transportation back to Harriet Island will be provided. Register onsite beginning at 7 a.m. Additional boats provided by River Semester outfitter Wilderness Inquiry.


Sept. 1, 2015

  • 5:30-8 a.m.: Students available for live interviews as they pack and ready for launch
  • 7 a.m.: Onsite registration for public to paddle from Harriet Island to South St. Paul
  • 8 a.m.: Formal Program
  • 8:45 a.m.: Launch and Send-Off


Kelley’s Landing (located at western end of park), Harriet Island, St. Paul

Directions: City of St. Paul website


  • Stephanie Weiss, Augsburg College Director of News and Media Services, 612.330.1476
  • Jeffrey Kemnitz, Wilderness Inquiry Outreach Director, 612.676.9427
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