The exhibit currently on display in the Library highlights the RRCC faculty-led trips taken in the last few months. Each year, RRCC Faculty offer a variety of opportunities for students to study, travel, and experience learning in a broad, innovative, and exciting manner. Students often comment that the trips are life-changing and inspire them to pursue more opportunities for learning in the surrounding community and overseas. The photos on display throughout the Library are from four different trips: Paris, India, Hawaii, and the Civil Rights Road Trip. Interested in traveling abroad to earn credit? More trips for 2016, including Paris and Tanzania, are currently being organized!
Paris in the Spring
At the Opera Garnier
In preparation for the trip, students took three courses all designed around the trip to Paris. The first class was French for Travelers, where students practiced basic language skills in various scenarios such as ordering coffee or buying train tickets. The next two classes, Creative Writing and Expatriate Writers in 1920s Paris, were intertwined. Students read several novels by the likes of Hemingway, Barnes, Stein, and Fitzgerald as well as poems and short stories. They then wrote in imitation of the authors, stretching their creative abilities in preparation for writing about Paris.
In Paris, students traveled by foot and by metro, exploring several different neighborhoods while walking the footsteps of the expatriate authors. Beyond the Arc De Triumph, Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and the Louvre, they also visited the Catacombs, Versailles, Monet’s gardens at Giverny, and the Opera Garnier. Students sat in the sidewalk cafes and watched Paris pass by. They practiced their French with Parisians and managed the metro on their own.
Nearly all caught the travel bug, planning trips of their own and feeling newly confident. Most telling, perhaps, is that three students applied to and were accepted by the American University Paris. Interested in going in 2016?
India: Himalaya Adventure
Old Delhi, India
India is a land of startling diversity and stark contract awash in a sea of color. Spirituality is the cornerstone of Indian civilization. This adventure explored ancient and modern manifestations of India’s complex religious history. They began in Delhi with Muslim Mosques and Hindu Temples, followed by a trip to Agra to experience the grandeur of the Taj Mahal. The second half of the trip was spent surrounded by the magnificence of the Indian Himalaya. In the Ladakh region, they explored Buddhist monasteries and spent the night at Pangong Lake on the India-China border at 15,000 feet.
Hawaii: Biodiversity and Geology
Snorkeling with manta rays, Kona coast
Photo credit: Ellie Camann
In May 2015, Ellie Camann, Steve Kaye, and Kelly Worden took 18 students to the Big Island of Hawaii as part of their BIO 228 and GEY 228 courses. Together, they spent 10 days investigating the biodiversity and geology of the island, including conducting sand analyses and bird surveys, visiting biologically diverse and geologically interesting areas, and sampling the intertidal for algae and invertebrates. Students compiled their experiences and demonstrated their learning in comprehensive field journals and exams. Many commented that this was the learning experience of a lifetime!
The Civil Rights Road Trip
Service learning in action: students paint the home of a disabled veteran with Brothers Redevelopment.
The Civil Rights Road Trip group spent the spring 2015 semester participating in a 6-credit multidisciplinary experiential field study that included 3 courses: Sociology of Diversity, Service Learning, and the History of the Civil Rights. After completing these courses and approximately 500 hours of volunteer work during the semester, the group went on a hands-on diversity experience by embarking on a 11-day Civil Rights Road Trip through the southeastern United States. The trip began in Washington, DC, where students stayed at Gallaudet University and visited many popular sites, including the United States Supreme Court, the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, Smithsonian Museum, the National Mall, and US Capitol building. The group then got on a bus that became our second home for a week and made a brief stop in Atlanta at the Martin Luther King National Historic site before venturing to Alabama, where they were able to walk in the footsteps of history through Kelly Ingram Park and at 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham and at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma.
Following this, the group spent an emotional and through-provoking afternoon at the Southern Poverty Law Center, which was by far the favorite stop on the trip. After a break on a Gulf Coast beach, students travelled to New Orleans and after exploring the city, spent an evening volunteering at Villalobos Rescue Center as featured in the popular television show Pitbulls and Parolees. Whitney Plantation, the only plantation tour devoted to telling the story of slavery, was the next stop before finishing the trip in Memphis, TN, where everyone got a taste for great BBQ after visiting the Stax Record Museum, Graceland, and the National Civil Rights Museum. Not only did our students, who represented a wide variety of different backgrounds and experiences, bond with each other and experience diversity in a new and close-up way, they also walked away from this experience with a greater appreciation of what those who have come before then have suffered so that many of the rights that we take for granted are available for all. The time spent volunteering has turned them into individuals who are now invested in giving back to their own communities and who are an inspiration to their families and others they come in contact with, and their instructors could not be more proud of them all.