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University of Colorado Denver

Study Abroad/Global Education
 

Sustainability in the Caribbean

Intense, field-based research opportunity in Grenada, West Indies

Maymester 2015

Representative of the West Indies in general, the tri-island nation of Grenada represents a unique learning environment for studying sustainability. This course introduces students to many concepts of sustainability distinct to lesser-developed countries (LDCs) while offering practical, hands-on experience in various field techniques and methods (e.g., transects, geographical analysis, survey construction, trail impact, etc.) with an international perspective usable in any locale. Students will keep daily records (field/travel journals), complete daily in situ tasks, engage in daily thought-provoking discussions, generate a technical report on a pre-determined topic, and learn Grenadian culture by interacting with locals. 

Upon return to the US, students will be de-briefed and assessed, and turn-in several short video segments. This course builds on specific research projects, determined each year by the instructors. If a student wants to conduct personal research based on their interests, Professor Allen may work with them individually to make certain the topic is relevant, useful, and feasible in the time frame.​

 

 Faculty Spotlight: Casey Allen

 

 Did you study abroad as a student?

Yes. I participated in THREE undergraduate study abroad programs, all at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah. They included the Middle East (Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Cyprus, Turkey, & Greece), the UK (England & Scotland), and South America (Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, Uruguay, Peru, Chile, & Bolivia) They are the reasons I now lead study abroad programs. Without participating, I would perhaps never had the desire to run programs of my own. Additionally, study abroad programs represent a superb way to expose students to the "real" world and experience life in ways they never thought possible. I tell students all the time, "You may learn a lot of content on a study abroad, but just as importantly, you'll learn a lot about yourself".

1

 Why should Geography & Environmental Sciences students go abroad?

Because it's a necessity in today's world. Everyone needs to know how everyone else lives, and learn that we are more alike than different. People everywhere want essentially the same things, and yet we continually divide ourselves. Study abroad combats that mental road block, allowing us to gain insights and understandings that help us gain greater appreciation for our fellow beings.

2

 What inspires you about Grenada?

Small, compact, yet LOTS of stuff to do, explore, research, and learn. Plus, it's the Caribbean, so that's kinda nice.​

3

 What was the most interesting thing that happened to you in Grenada?

Seeing students become excited at the prospect of learning something new and experience things they never thought possible. In Grenada, I've had students become so attached to the people that they actually cry when they leave. THAT is powerful. I've also had students become aware of how little it can take to be happy. And when that realization hits them, it's powerful, and they recognize it.​

4

 What was the weirdest thing that happened to you in Grenada?

Having the Minister of Tourism call me on my cell phone while we were analyzing ocean salinity, to ask what we were doing to make sure it would only put the Island in a good light. I didn't even know she knew me, let alone had my Grenadian cell number.​

5

 What is your favorite food from Grenada?

Anything with nutmeg in it: nutmeg ice cream and milkshakes are my most favorite. But Grenada has many things with all sorts of spices (hello, "Isle of Spice")...​6

 What is one thing Americans should know about Grenada?

They speak English. It's still recovering from Hurricane Ivan in 2004, but making progress. Grenadians are some of the most proud and patriotic people I've ever met.​

7

 Why do you get excited about the subject matter of Sustainability in West Indies?

Because we get to study EVERYTHING possible about the Grenada. Students learn not just history and politics (by exploring actual sites of recent revolutions), but also about eco-tourism, biology, ecology, geology, and marine science. It's a small enough Island that we CAN do it all.​

8

 What do you expect students to learn from your course?

Adaptability, flexibility, and patience. And that fieldwork often changes at a moment's notice and they need to be ready and adapt, be flexible enough to change directions in the middle of something, and have the patience to know that it probably will NOT work out the way you initially thought. That and to learn the importance of "Island Life" attitude.​

9


Quick Facts

  • Course GEOG/ENVS 4995/5995
  • Faculty Dr. Casey Allen​
  • Dates Denver: May 18-19 & June 5, 2015. Grenada: May 21-June 1, 2015.
  • Cost TBA
  • Deadline March 1, 2015
  • Credits 4
  • Prerequisites GEOG 1202 or similar course; interview with faculty, personal essay. Preferred: GEOG 1202 & GEOG 1302. 
  • Program Advisor    Meghan Atherton​

Costs and dates tentative and subject to change.

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