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

Service Takes Flight

March 18, 2016

Betty EasleyBetty (Poe) Easley is passionate about flight. As a child, she moved to Clearfield, Utah, near Hill Air Force Base, and she loved watching the planes take off and land. “I was crazy about them,” Betty says. “I used to make all kinds of airplane models, and I would read books on how jet engines work.” Although Betty never wanted to be a pilot, she did find a way to pursue her passion for aviation—just many decades later.

After retiring as an elementary school music teacher in Hawthorne, Nevada, Betty began volunteering at the Hawthorne Industrial Airport. For more than eight years, Betty has been showing up every day to ensure that pilots coming in and out of the rural airport have transportation and the basic necessities to make their stay comfortable.

And the airport community is not the only beneficiary of Betty's generosity. Betty has been a longtime supporter of Westminster's annual fund. When she learned that she could direct her annual gift to the department of Aviation, Betty increased her gift!

Learn more about Betty's stalwart commitment to the causes she cares most about in the latest issue of the Westminster Review.

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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