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 15, 2016

December 20, 2016

Dear Colleagues,

This week our students are finishing up finals and course projects for fall semester, faculty are busy grading, staff are hard at work wrapping up budgets and plans for the new year and soliciting final year gifts for the Annual Fund. For sure, it’s a busy time of year and the long holiday break will be a welcome one.

Enrollment Update

I am encouraged by the efforts of so many to increase our enrollment for spring semester. Applications are ahead of last year date-to-date and converting them to admits and enrollees is now the focus of our work. We are also contacting every currently enrolled student eligible to return for spring to make sure every effort has been made to retain them. As you work with current students, please remind them that the deadline for continuing student scholarships is January 30th.

While we’re still early in the process, early indicators for fall semester are also encouraging, with applications running ahead of last year date-to-date. The financial aid office is three months ahead of schedule, already sending out financial aid awards to 149 admitted students. I will send an update in January with applicant, admit, and deposit numbers.

Faculty Approve New Programs

The faculty approved two new academic majors that will launch next fall: sports management and outdoor education leadership. Both of these programs were part of the 5-pronged enrollment plan and will be forwarded to the Board of Trustees for final approval.

Fundraising Update

The comprehensive campaign is underway and our fundraising team has been hard at work bringing in new gifts to the college. We’ve raised $5.3M towards our $10M goal for the year. In the last few weeks alone, the fundraising team has brought in two $1M gifts. These gifts will be used to support student scholarships and the expansion of the Jewett Center for the Performing Arts, and will no doubt have an amazing impact on our campus.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service

I’m excited to announce that we will hold a campus-wide Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service on Friday, January 20 from 2- 4:00 p.m. We will welcome students from South Salt Lake to our campus, working side-by-side on a variety of service projects. There will be stations set up for volunteers to put together hygiene supply kits for the Road Home, write letters with the Red Cross to our service men and women, and make blankets and treats for the Salt Lake County Animal Services. In addition, the students will have the opportunity to participate in a science project, physical activities, and games. Volunteers will be able to help out at as many or as few stations as they like.

This is a wonderful chance for our campus to come together, serve others, and reach out to students from underserved populations. I hope you’ll all make an effort to attend, whether you’re able to join us for the full event or just have time to drop by and cheer the students on, and I urge you to encourage others from your department to join you. Register for the day of service.

Condolences to the Richer Family

Our wonderful friend and colleague Al Richer passed away on November 24. Al received a bachelor’s degree from Westminster in 1982 and an honorary doctorate in 2015. Al was a Trustee of the college from 2001–2014. He and his wife Helene generously funded the Richer Commons and Richer Alcove, along with a scholarship for the Honors program. I was proud to represent the college at his memorial service last week.

Final Thoughts

President Steve Morgan with Students at Midnight Breakfast

Last week I attended the midnight breakfast and was amazed to see that over 600 students were there! It was wonderful to see such high attendance at one of our long-time campus traditions. I hope you all have the chance to celebrate some holiday traditions of your own during the winter break and look forward to seeing you all in the new year.

Kind regards,

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