Southwest Semester: A Geological and Environmental Policy Tour

The Southwest Semester is a new interdisciplinary program that will explore a wide range of environmental issues during a semesterlong field experience (August–November 2015) across several states in the western United States. This integrated four-unit program will meet a variety of requirements in both geology and environmental policy and decision making, as well as the university core, including:

  • Geology 330: Regional Field Geology Counts as a course for any geology degree (satisfies the historical geology requirement) or as an upper-division elective
  • Geology 310: Water Resources Counts as a course for any geology degree, as an upper-division elective, or as a nonpolicy elective for the Environmental Policy and Decision Making Program
  • Geology 315: Energy Resources Counts as a course for any geology degree, as an upper-division elective, or as a nonpolicy elective for the Environmental Policy and Decision Making Program
  • Politics and Government 309: Applied Environmental Politics and Agenda Setting Satisfies the policy elective for the Environmental Policy and Decision Making Program and the Connections Core requirement

Preliminary Schedule and Itinerary

The semester is planned for fall 2015, and will begin with preparations on campus in early August, with a departure date of Aug. 20 for the first leg of travel/study. The group will take a weeklong midterm break late in September before completing the second leg of the program and returning to campus in mid-November.

Tentative Itinerary

Touring (camping): Grand Coulee, Yellowstone, Wind River Mountains (Wyo.), Dinosaur National Monument (10 days)

Settled (housing): Crested Butte (Colo.) (10 days)

Touring (camping): Canyonlands NP, Arches NP, Natural Bridges, N.M., Glen Canyon, Monument Valley, Mesa Verde NP (18 days) 

Midterm Break: Ghost Ranch, N.M. (1 week)

Camping (or housing) at Ghost Ranch: Los Alamos and Sandia National Labs, Valle Grande, Bandelier, N.M., Santa Fe, Rio Grande Pueblos (10 days)

Touring (camping): Chaco Canyon NP, Canyon de Chelly, N.M., Glen Canyon Dam, Grand Canyon NP (south rim), Lake Mead/Hoover Dam, Salton Sea, San Andreas Fault (3 weeks)

Settled (housing): San Francisco Bay area—final tests and projects (1 week)

Prerequisites

  • GEOL 101 (offered every semester)
  • ENVR 101 (offered ONLY during fall semester)

Costs

  • Semester tuition, room, board, and student fees
  • Field trip fee, currently estimated at $3,000
  • Personal expenses

 

Please note: This new program is contingent upon sufficient enrollment.