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

April 16, 2015

April 16, 2015

This has been a week of meetings and events.

Last Friday, Provost Lisa Gentile and I met with President Deneece Huftalin of Salt Lake Community College to discuss how to strengthen our relationship with the school. We depend on SLCC for so many of our transfer students and because of this, discussed ways to collaborate on enrollment, service learning, and information sharing.

At our monthly Cabinet meeting on Monday, we focused on enrollment and retention strategies for next year. As you know from John Baworowsky's weekly email, we are closing in on the freshman enrollment goals. I would like to thank John's entire team, as well as the faculty and staff who have been making individual calls to prospective students, for their great outreach efforts. As we move forward into the upcoming academic year, I encourage each of you to check with the students you work with on what their plans are for the fall semester.

We also plan to invite one department each month to introduce their staff and describe their roles and responsibilities during the Cabinet meeting. This month's meeting featured the Office of Integrated Marketing and Communications. They are doing great work to promote the college.

Last September, the Center for Civic Engagement was given an amazing gift by Katherine W. Dumke. Shortly thereafter, she passed away. Today, we will honor Katherine and her family by naming the center the Katherine W. Dumke Center for Civic Engagement. We have invited the Dumke family to participate in the naming ceremony today at 4:00 p.m. in the Bassis Center. Please stop by and share this special occasion with them.

At the All College meeting, I announced that I would be visiting each department on campus before the end of May to introduce myself and learn about their plans and priorities, and identify the expectations they have for me as the new president. To date, I have met with the Office of Marketing and Communications; Admissions, Financial Aid & the START Center; the School of Education; and the Gore School of Business. I will continue these meetings over the coming weeks. Thank you for welcoming me into your offices and giving me a broader view of your functions and responsibilities.

Last night, a number of us were invited to attend a dinner that honored Dr. Helen Hu for her work in computer science education. Governor Gary Herbert awarded her the Governor's Medal for Science and Technology. It was a proud moment for Helen and for Westminster.

One of the benefits of being president is working with 12 amazing students who serve as Presidential Ambassadors. Six of them will graduate this year, so six new ones were selected this week from 46 who applied.

Please join me in welcoming our newest Ambassadors:

  • Warren Cook from Sandy, UT, majoring in History
  • Jenny Hargis from Northfield, MN, majoring in Nursing
  • Ben Jones from Payson, UT, majoring in Elementary Education
  • Kevin Martinez from Los Angeles, CA, majoring in Sociology and minoring in Spanish
  • Leah Weisgal from New York, NY, majoring in Public Health and minoring in Outdoor Education and Leadership as well as Political Studies
  • Lyons Wells from Victor, ID, majoring in Flight Operations

They join returning Presidential Ambassadors:

  • Joshua Goldsmith
  • Elhom Gosink
  • Sarah Hirning
  • Jane Jerman
  • Sierra Kane
  • Bibek Neupane

I would also like to recognize the hard work of our outgoing Presidential Ambassadors who will graduate in May:

  • Brooke Bellows
  • Michael Calacino
  • Alicia Foster
  • Megan Peters
  • Pratik Raghu
  • Sathya Rivas

Don't forget that this Saturday is a big game day for our men's and women's lacrosse teams. The women's team will close out the 2015 season at 11:00 a.m. in a game against Colorado Mesa. There will be a presentation for the five Griffin seniors prior to the game. The Westminster men's lacrosse team will host in-state rival and fifth-ranked Brigham Young University. The game begins at 2 p.m. A presentation for the seven Griffin seniors will take place before the game. I hope you can make the games! I would take great joy in beating BYU.

Have a great rest of your week!

Acting President Morgan

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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