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Photo Opportunity: River Semester students land Saturday at Gateway Arch in St. Louis

College students have paddled nearly 600 miles from St. Paul to St. Louis en route to New Orleans


Gateway ArchAfter nine weeks living, studying and traveling on the Mississippi River in a flotilla of 24-foot voyageur canoes and paddling nearly 600 miles, a group of Augsburg College students is slated to land on at the Gateway Arch at 1 p.m., Saturday. The students, who departed St. Paul on Sept. 1 as part of their semester-long journey to the Gulf of Mexico, will land in St. Louis just as the city is discussing the grade of D+ given on the Mississippi River Basin “report card” by a consortium of environmental organizations and as the city celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Gateway Arch.


1 p.m., Saturday


Gateway Arch, Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, 100 Washington Ave., St. Louis 63102


The students participating in this semester-long learning program will earn as many as 16 credits in biology, environmental studies, health and physical education, and political science.  During the trip, students will:

  • Conduct a field research project on a topic such as water pollution, the Clean Water Act, sustainable 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 meet the needs of partner organizations, including businesses,  graduate schools, nonprofits and government agencies.
  • Attend town hall meetings and meet with environmental organizations along the river.
  • Hear from guest lecturers about invasive carp, habitat restoration, authors Mark Twain and William 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 at


Augsburg College, a private liberal arts college in Minneapolis, offered the River Semester in partnership with Wilderness Inquiry, a nonprofit and inclusive travel provider that specializes in experiential programming and outdoor travel for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities. Augsburg College offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and nine graduate degrees to nearly 3,600 students of diverse backgrounds at its campuses located in the vibrant center of the Twin Cities and in Rochester. Augsburg College educates students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders. The Augsburg experience is supported by an engaged community committed to intentional diversity in its life and work. An Augsburg education is defined by excellence in the liberal arts and professional studies, guided by the faith and values of the Lutheran church, and shaped by its urban and global settings.