The collected photography of this year’s Semester in the West (SITW) participants provides a glimpse into the intense beauty of the interior American West and showcases the rigor of the program.

An exhibit that features these firsthand photographic accounts demonstrates the triumphs and travails of the students and their mobile lifestyle. The exhibit, which opened Nov. 30, will be on display through Winter Break in the Stevens Gallery in Reid Campus Center.

“Our travels led us through the grasslands of Nevada, the mountains of the Colorado Plateau, and the deserts of the Southwest where we studied the political, ecological, social and cultural factors that shape our public lands.  Looking at landscapes whole, we have built a creative and academic portfolio of our encounters with western ranchers, authors, scientists and environmentally minded individuals from all walks of life,” explained Theo Barnhart ’10, SITW technical manager.

With their journey recently completed, the Westies, as SITW students refer to themselves, are eager to share their experiences through this captivating exhibit.

“This comprehensive exposure of the current issues of the West has led to a creation of diverse writing and photography.  We offer these 30 images to give a snapshot of our experiences, adventure on the road and the way we lived, for a window into the lifestyle of a Westie,” Barnhart said.
Whitman College Semester in the West is an interdisciplinary field program in environmental studies, focusing on public lands conservation in the interior American West. The objective is to come to know the West in its many dimensions, including its diverse ecosystems, its social and political communities, and the many ways these ecosystems and communities find their expression in regional environmental writing and public policy. Every other autumn since 2002, a select group of 21 Whitman College students has ventured out into the interior West for field meetings with a wide variety of leading figures in conservation, ecology, environmental writing and social justice. During the course of the semester, students have typically had the opportunity to visit with 60 or 70 such leaders.

— Troy Cameron ’14