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Founded in 1990 by a group of undergraduate students seeking to extend learning beyond the walls of the classroom, the APPLES Service-Learning program began by supporting faculty in understanding and using service-learning pedagogy. As APPLES opportunities have expanded over the years, the primary purpose continues to be to enhance and deepen learning through meaningful collaborations with community organizations among the growing list of programs.

Funded by student fees, APPLES is a student organization with permanent staff available for administrative and programming responsibilities. In 2009, APPLES became a program of the Carolina Center for Public Service (CCPS). This collaboration and structure has strengthened the organization as it offers more resources and support for faculty, students and community partners.

APPLES is committed to sustainable and collaborative partnerships, both within and outside of the university. Together with staff, student organizers build upon the contributions, lessons and approaches from previous years. APPLES seeks to integrate reflection, an essential aspect of service-learning, into each participant experience. Through these core values, APPLES aims to enhance the undergraduate education of both student organizers and participants.