Object Lesson: Sheltering Sky
During the fall semester each even-numbered year, Semester in the West takes a group of Whitman students on a semester-long field program across the American West. One vital part of the program-which focuses on public lands conservation, the ecosystems of the region and its social and political communities-is the Semester in the West mobile unit, pictured above.
"We use the trailer to haul all our gear while we travel, then when we arrive in camp and take everything out, tables drop down and it becomes a 10-person computer lab, powered by solar panels and lithium-ion batteries, with a satellite up- and downlink to the Web," explained program director and Miles C. Moore Professor of Politics Phil Brick. The unit also includes a traveling library and provides shelter from high winds and bad weather while on the road.