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

March 22, 2016

March 22, 2016

Dear Colleagues,

We're getting down to that crucial time of year when the incoming students are making their college decisions and current students are figuring out their plans for next year. I want to thank all of our staff, faculty, students, and especially our Admissions and Financial Aid teams who are working so hard to recruit and retain people for our Westminster community. In terms of our enrollment numbers, we have made good progress, but we still have ground to make up. Every call, every conversation, and every new student makes a big difference.

Admitted Student Day

On that subject, we held a very successful Admitted Student Day last Saturday, with 135 prospective students and their families in attendance. I had the pleasure of meeting and talking with many of them personally, and I am happy to report that 21 committed to Westminster by making a deposit at the event.

Admitted Student Day

South Salt Lake

Last week, I had the privilege of attending the South Salt Lake State of the City Address and luncheon hosted by Mayor Cherie Wood. At this event, Westminster received the award for Best Education Partner for our ongoing involvement with their community, noting in particular our campus involvement with the Write Here Writing Center, Venture college courses for adults, the Mentoring with Moo program, mobile health clinics, our work with the Arts Council to support public art, and our efforts to teach youth about the Jordan River ecosystem. This award is a great honor, and I am proud of the hard work that has gone into this partnership on both sides.

All College Meeting

We have received overwhelmingly positive feedback on the new format for the All College Meeting, and I am grateful to everyone who attended. We had a packed house (we might need to move to a larger venue next time) and I think the advance reading materials and emphasis on Q&A really allowed us to make the meeting engaging and informative. We plan to continue using and refining this format for future meetings. As always, further feedback is welcome.

Celebrities on Campus

To the surprise of many, I attended the Bernie Sanders rally held on campus last weekend. I, like many of our students, got to meet actress Shailene Woodley, who also attended in support of Bernie Sanders. Coincidentally, later that night I saw her in her latest movie, Allegiant, which was surreal after having met her only hours before. Attending the rally and seeing the great turnout made me incredibly proud of our students who are so active and engaged in the political process.

Shailene Woodley on Campus

I also had the great honor to meet Mr. Clement Leung, Hong Kong's Commissioner to the United States. Mr. Leung visited campus last Wednesday, and we discussed exchange programs and opportunities for Westminster students.

Clement Leung on Campus

Staff Spotlight

Every now and then I hear about staff members who are doing great things for the college. Today I want to share a great story I heard about our events setup coordinator, Harry Cross, from his supervisor, Jeff Brown. Jeff told me that Harry has effectively saved his department's entire equipment budget by rebuilding and fixing some of our old speakers so that they work like new, allowing the department to sell some of the other speakers that were no longer needed. Harry, thank you for supporting our core value of college-wide excellence by using your unique talent for tinkering to give us a top-notch speaker system and save money!

Staff Spotlight

Great Colleges Survey

As I hope you've all seen several times now, the Great Colleges survey has been sent out, and I highly encourage everyone to participate. Take 30 minutes, give us some honest feedback about what it's like to work at Westminster, and help us make the work systems and environment here even better. The survey will be open until April 8.

There are so many great things happening on our campus, and I am excited to see everything we can accomplish together as we move into the final month of the semester.

Kind regards,

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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