Westminster Expedition Students in the Open American West

During the 2017 Fall Semester, 14 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 American West.

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.

This 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.

We 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.

Meet the Expedition

Learn More About the Students and Faculty on the Expedition

Read the Latest Journal Entry

2017 Debut!

October 5, 2016

Come celebrate the premiere of our 53rd issue!

This year our debut will be held April 21, 2017 at 7:00 p.m.

Dumke “Black Box” Theater, Jewett Center
Westminster College
1300 East 1700 South
Salt Lake City, Utah

We welcome poet Matthew Gavin Frank.

Matthew is the judge of the 2017 student prose and poetry contest and will give our feature reading.

He is the author of four nonfiction books, including The Mad Feast: An Ecstatic Tour Through America’s Food; Preparing the Ghost: An Essay Concerning the Giant Squid and Its First Photographer; and three books of poems: The Morrow Plots, Warranty in Zulu, and Sagittarius Agitprop. He teaches at Northern Michigan University, where he is the Nonfiction/Hybrids Editor of Passages North.

As always attendees receive a complimentary copy of our current issue of Ellipsis.

A light catered dinner will be served after.

We hope to see you there!

Reasonable prior notice is required to arrange accommodation for people with disabilities. Please contact the Arts and Sciences Department at 801.832.2300 if you need this accommodation.

View All Journal Entries →

Expedition in the News

Two people on a canoe
Group of Students around Campfire

The Route

Our proposed route is an enormous figure eight, heading northwest first (because of potential early winter weather) and including Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah. Course-related sites include sites of environmental/cultural conflict or cooperation (e.g., Malheur National Wildlife Refuge; East Tavaputs Plateau tar sands; Klamath River dams; the Berkeley Pit, the Nevada Test Site, Owens Lake); National Parks (e.g., Yellowstone, North Cascades, Olympic, Redwood, Grand Canyon, Great Basin); wilderness areas (e.g., Bob Marshall, Glacier Peak); Native nations and sites (e.g., Burns Paiute, Coast Salish, Miwok, the Nez Perce trail, Colville, Pyramid Lake, Hopi); dam sites (e.g., Teton, Grand Coulee, Hoover, Hetch Hetchy, Snake River); and relevant towns/cities (e.g., Bozeman, Bend, Cody, Moab, Winthrop, Page).

Expedition Route

Course Descriptions


Follow the Expedition's Progress