This semester is designed to explore the complex relationship between human actions within the environment and animal populations across a variety of ecosystems. Students will examine environmental management practices, critical issues in environmental conservation, the relationship between organisms and their environment, and species conservation and management.
Travel to a stunning and remote portion of Fiji’s Yasawa Islands and dive into fieldwork exploring Fiji’s marine ecosystem and the impact climate change has on this fragile habitat. Learn about the various strategies in place to protect, conserve, and restore Fiji’s marine environment and participate in a community-run marine habitat restoration project on Somosomo Island. Midway through the semester, travel to New Zealand where you’ll learn to surf in Raglan before visiting the world famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves and travel to Rotorua, famous for Maori culture and boiling mud pools. Whitewater raft the Kaituna River, and try luging, zorbing, and agrojetting. Next, make your way to Australia where you’ll explore the intricately connected ecosystem of the Daintree Rainforest, the world’s oldest surviving rainforest, see firsthand the impact of climate change on the great barrier reef system, and partner with the Australia Zoo for field research. Students spend twelve weeks abroad, including six weeks in Fiji, two weeks in New Zealand, and four weeks in Australia.
In addition to the two country-specific courses offered in this semester, students will also complete two additional courses that span the full semester.
Rhetoric and Composition for the College Writer
This course is designed to strengthen students’ writing mechanics and prepare students for the demands of academic writing. This course has been designed to develop writing and rhetoric skills by leveraging core content explored through other Verto courses and immersive field work. Students will use essential questions for other courses taken during the semester to contextualize the importance of strong academic writing, develop strong academic prose, and explore the relationship between language and rhetoric.
Identity, Politics, and Equity
This course challenges students to critically analyze how identity — as defined by others and oneself — shapes culture, politics, and the distribution of power. Drawing from media, texts, and intercultural experiences within homestays and fieldwork, students reflect on the dynamic roles of ethnicity, gender, nationality, and socio-economic status in shaping relationships within communities. Students will leave the course with critical understanding and inquiry tools to serve in creating greater equity in relationships ranging from the interpersonal to those between nations.