Westminster Expedition

Salt Lake City-based Westminster College Launches Academic Road TripThrough The American West

New program explores some of the most intriguing sites in the American West and delves into environmental issues and conflict

SALT LAKE CITY, UT (August 23, 2017) – Westminster College, the Salt Lake City-based liberal arts college, kicks off fall semester with its first-ever academic road trip through the American West: The Westminster Expedition. As part of this semester-long course, a group of 14 students, two professors and a program assistant hit the road for a three-month expedition exploring the heart of the American West.

The inaugural Westminster Expedition explores contemporary issues with public lands, Native cultures and our connections to and understanding of natural landscapes in the west. Jeff Nichols, Ph.D., one of two professors for the course, believes this one-of-a-kind program is one of the best ways to truly learn about this beautiful, but complex area.

"The best learning happens when we are immersed in experiences,” said Nichols, a Westminster history professor and coordinator of the Expedition. “Traveling to extraordinary places and talking with the people who live and work there will illuminate complex human and environmental issues.”

The Westminster Expedition will tour iconic sites like Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks, as well as contentious places like Little Bighorn Battlefield and Bears Ears national monuments. This multi-state tour takes students across the West – Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona and Utah – meeting with local residents and experts, including Native leaders, writers, scholars, activists, elected officials and government land managers along the way.

Outfitted with camping gear, and traveling in a couple of vans, the students will work on photo essays, journals, essays and research papers along the journey. Their work will be present publicly when they return to campus at the end of the semester.

“Today, the Western environment and our cherished public lands are threatened,” added Brent Olson, environmental studies associate professor and co-coordinator of the Expedition. “We designed the Westminster Expedition to offer each student a unique learning experience and to build a community of impassioned scholars dedicated to building a better future for the West.”

One of their first stops will be a two-day visit in Bozeman, Mont., September 6-8, to meet with world-renowned author William Wyckoff, of How to Read the American West; and talk with Bozeman-based climber, adventure photographer and Westminster alumnus Max Lowe. The evening of September 7, the college will be hosting a reception at the Emerson Center for the Arts with Bozeman High School Students, Westminster Expedition participants and Max Lowe.

For more information on the expedition, visit For real time updates, join the Expedition on Facebook and Instagram @WestminsterExpedition.

Media Contacts: Krista DeAngelis and Arikka Von 801-832-2682

About Westminster:

Westminster is a private, independent and comprehensive college in Salt Lake City, Utah. Students experience the liberal arts blended with professional programs in an atmosphere dedicated to civic engagement. With the goal of enabling its graduates to live vibrant, just and successful lives, Westminster provides transformational learning experiences for both undergraduate and graduate students in a truly student-centered environment. Faculty focus on teaching, learning and developing distinctive, innovative programs, while students thrive on Westminster’s urban Sugar House campus within minutes of the Rocky Mountains. For more information, visit or follow WestminsterSLC on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.