During the 2017 Fall Semester, 16 students, two professors, and a
program coordinator will load books, camping gear, and themselves into a
couple of vans and hit the road for a semester-long tour of the
The trip is designed as an
exploration into the issues at the heart of the contemporary West.
Students will earn 16 credits in environmental studies and history as
they study Environmental Cooperation and Conflict, Landscape and
Meaning, the History of Public Lands, and the Native West.
prolonged journey into the field will allow us to learn directly from
landscapes and ecosystems, as well as from people who live, work, and
study in those places. Together, we expect to build a cohort of
impassioned scholars with a particular breadth and depth of experiential
knowledge who are equipped to build a better future for the West.
will visit iconic, protected sites like Yellowstone and Glacier
National Parks, contentious places like the Little Bighorn and the
Malheur Wildlife Refuge, working landscapes like the Butte Copper Mines,
and communities from present-day Native nations to "New West" towns
like Bend, Twisp, and Moab.
What to Expect
plan to camp every four or five days, spending the fifth day in a motel
or lodge. We've also scheduled a larger city visit every two weeks, or
as weather dictates. At each site, we will meet with local residents and
experts, including Native leaders, writers, scholars, activists,
elected officials, and government land managers.
will return to Salt Lake City for Fall Break before heading back on the
road for the second half of the trip. Students will work on a variety
of assignments—including photo essays, journals, interviews, essays, and
longer research papers—many of which will be shared on social media as
we travel, and presented publicly when we return to campus. While our
itinerary is carefully planned, we'll also allow for the (safe and sane)
serendipities of a good road trip.