Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Leaving On a Jet Plane

Hello everyone,

In just under a week a group of sixteen bright young chaps will begin their journey to the United Kingdom!  This is the first blog of many that will be written in the next three weeks.  We are leaving on a jet plane this upcoming Sunday, May 19th, so keep your eyes open for new posts daily (or when we have internet access).  

My name is Jill, and I am going with on the trip as a program assistant.  For the past two years, I have had the honor of helping Eric to set up and organize this trip.  Last year was our first adventure, created from scratch.  It turned out to be a complete success!  Lots of things have happened on our campus with credit due to the trip taken last year, thanks to the amazing minds of our students.  We are ecstatic to take off on our trip this year, as we have added more activities and countries to our line up.    

I don't want to ruin the whole trip, since the students will tell you about it themselves, but I will fill you in with an overview of all the awesome things we are going to be doing.

First we will fly into London, and do a bit of exploring.  There, at first, we will experience culture shock when traveling via the tube and extreme jet lag.  Students will see all of the main sights such as Big Ben, Westminster, the Tower Bridge, etc.  

After London, we will do a day tour of Stonehenge, the Roman Baths, and Windsor Castle.  We will be heading to Swansea, where we will spend time at Swansea University learning about their current sustainability efforts.

From Swansea we will travel to Northern Wales.  On the way we will stay in a quaint little town called Bala, where we will get some Welsh outdoor action canyoning and hiking Mt. Snowdon, the highest peak in the UK.  In Llandudno we will explore an ancient castle and ride the longest cable cars in Europe.  

The next stop is Ireland.  We will take a ferry to Ireland and explore all of Dublin, then up to Belfast in Northern Ireland, all in a few short days.  We will then voyage back across the Irish Sea to Scotland, where our trip will end a couple days later in Glasgow.  


The whole point of this class is so that students can travel the world and be able to see the environment, technology, and society with new eyes.  Traveling abroad allows us to be open minded and see situations from different perspectives.  Our trip is focused particularly on sustainability.  We want students to figure out for themselves what sustainability means to them and why it is important.  The United Kingdom is a great place to go to do this, as they a leader in sustainable development and research.    

Expectations of students coming on the trip include exploration and discovery of new things related to sustainability.  We anticipate students will bring these ideas back to where we live and choose to make it a better place.  We want students to become intrinsically motivated to do this, and the experiences they have in the UK we hope will help this to happen.  

Having this blog is one way students can reach out, by sharing their ideas with you.  We tried out the blog last year, and it was very successful.  Instead of having only a few students compile one, this year Eric decided to implement blogging into the course and have each student write their on blog, on the day of their choice.  This way we are able to see the perspectives of each student, how they feel about the places we visit, and their attitudes on sustainability.  Students will be able to voice their opinions via writing, a video, or any other creative way they please.  

A new blog will be coming your way later this week prior to our departure.  Thank you for reading and please follow along!  We will put updates on Facebook each time a new blog is posted.  Have a great day!

-Jill Thompson