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

December 16, 2015

December 16, 2015

Dear Colleagues,

As classes end for the semester and we start preparing for 2016, I have been thinking about the many transitions that are part of working in a college environment. The most recent group of December graduates includes long-time student worker in the President's Office, Meghan Bubel, and while we are so happy for her success and excited for her future, she will definitely be missed. I also recently said goodbye to Rolando Rocha, who spent 18 years with maintenance at Westminster. As president, I often get to spend time with people in prominent positions in our city and state, but the joy I get from those prestigious meetings is nothing compared to the joy I get from working alongside people like Meghan and Rolando every day.

Rolando Rocha and Steve Morgan

I hope everyone had a chance to read the letter about diversity and inclusion on our campus that was sent by Associated Students of Westminster (ASW) two weeks ago, as well as the response from myself and the Senior Team. Both letters began an important conversation, and I am so proud that we have a campus community that is willing to tackle the difficult problems of intolerance and ignorance that are so present on college campuses across the country. Provost Lisa Gentile and I met with the group of students that recently protested this month's faculty meeting over the same issues, and we will use their input as a guide for further developing our plan of action that will bring together administration, staff, faculty, and students in a united effort to make our campus a safer and more inclusive space for people of all orientations, abilities, and backgrounds.

Both our spring enrollment numbers and budget finalization plans are looking up as we go into these final work days of 2015. Budget planning meetings for the 2016-2017 fiscal year are underway, and we will continue this work over the break. The budget advisory committee has given me excellent input throughout the budget process, and we are actively setting priorities as we evaluate our projected revenues for the next fiscal year.

The end of the year is a very important time for giving as well, and I want to invite everyone to join me in donating to replenish our student hardship fund. If you have any extra room in your holiday budget, your gift can make a huge difference for students who are facing difficult personal and financial situations.

Additionally, please keep in mind that Commencement will be one full month earlier this year than it was last year, which means that deadlines have also all been moved up a month. Remember to include this change to April 30th in your spring planning!

I also want to highlight some of the projects that will be happening over the break. When we return in January, we'll have brand new, energy-efficient LED lighting in the Jewett parking structure and our Flight Operations Center will be up and running in its new location at the airport. While the rest of us enjoy some time off, our maintenance department will be taking advantage of the empty campus to catch up on repairs and projects, so don't forget to thank them for all their hard work over the holidays!

Finally, I want to wish everyone a very happy holiday season. Sandy and I are looking forward to having a house full of our children, grandchildren, and extended family, and we hope that all of you have the chance to relax and enjoy lots of quality time with your loved ones. Thank you for all of the time, energy, support, and hard work you give to Westminster College, and I look forward to seeing you again in January.

Hope you enjoy this fun holiday activity:

Ugly Sweater Contest

Warm wishes,

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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