Kansas Abroad


Kansas sunflower mural

Kansas Abroad


Location: Kansas
Language of Instruction: English
Term: Summer
Academic Disciplines: Environmental Studies
Program Type: Faculty-led
Open to non-KU Students: No
Fulfills KU Core 4.2: No
Fulfills KU Core 5: No

  • A two week road trip that explores the question "What is Kansas’ environmental future?"  Kansas Abroad treats Kansas as if it were a study abroad destination with an environmental theme.
  • Talk with local change-makers, entrepreneurs and VIPs to engage with the unexpected in all regions of Kansas.
  • Explore the unique environmental features of Kansas.
  • Learn about Kansas’ past while contemplating the future.
  • Build skills in interviewing, listening, and developing research questions on the future of Kansas and its contributions to the country and world.

(Kansas Abroad program image taken by Larry Schwarm) 

 

Kansas Abroad will be a two-week road trip across the state.  Participants will travel by SUV from Lawrence to southeast Kansas, then west to Wichita and Hutchinson and on to Dodge City and Garden City, north to Monument Rocks and Colby, and then coming back along I-70 in a wave shape – up to Nicodemus, down to Lindsborg, to Salina and Manhattan and back to Lawrence with stops in between.

Possible destinations by region include:

Southeast Kansas

  • Bauman Cedar Valley Farm 
  • Wolf Creek
  • Mining and natural resource production sites
  • Hemp farm

South Central Kansas

  • Wichita and Hutchinson
  • Tallgrass Prairie National Park
  • Cottonwood Falls
  • JaKo Farm
  • Urban agriculture sites such as Common Ground Producers & Growers

Southwest Kansas

  • Dodge City & Garden City
  • Feedlots and Meat Packing facilities
  • SW Groundwater Management District/Ogallala Aquifer/Arkansas River

Western Kansas

  • Monument Rocks
  • Little Jerusalem
  • The Provenance Co
  • Arikaree Breaks
  • Frahm Farms

North Central Kansas

  • Nicodemus
  • Sternberg Museum
  • Garden of Eden
  • Lake Wilson
  • Good Shepherd Poultry, Lindsborg
  • The Land Institute, Salina
  • Konza Prairie & Discovery Center, Manhattan

Kansas Abroad will allow students to explore the state as an Environmental Studies “living laboratory.” This competitive program provides an immersive and hands-on, expansive look at the state’s reliance on environmental resources and the creative and entrepreneurial solutions proposed by Kansans, and it creates a space for students to develop research skills related to preserving our future.

Students will explore Kansas akin to a study abroad experience and similarly develop cultural awareness and new skills through this unique learning opportunity. The point of studying away or any kind of community-based learning is to experience something unfamiliar — a new place with a different culture often including different language, cuisine and norms — that illuminates both the new place and one’s home. Students will gain firsthand experience with experts who explore the diversity, contradictions and contributions of Kansas to the country and the world — and then research and share their observations about Kansas’ future.

With an emphasis on urban and rural relationships, Kansas Abroad offers students a chance to explore and encounter differences within the state and leverage those experiences into knowledge. Students will build skills in interviewing, listening and developing research questions on the future of Kansas and the role of young people in shaping it. Focusing on civic responsibility and collaborative leadership, Kansas Abroad aims to fulfill KU’s mission dedicated to preparing students for lives of learning and the challenges educated citizens will encounter in an increasingly complex and diverse global community.

The Kansas Abroad program takes place across the summer and fall academic terms.  Students on the Kansas Abroad program will be required to enroll in the following courses at KU:

Summer 2023

EVRN 498 Kansas Roadtrip (2 credits) 

Kansas Roadtrip (Part 1 of the Kansas Abroad Program) allows students to explore the state as an environmental studies “living laboratory.”  With an emphasis on urban and rural relationships and the story of how soil and water lead to wealth in Kansas, students will explore and encounter differences within the state and leverage those experiences into research questions on the future of Kansas and the role of people in shaping it.  See the "Location" tab for details on the itinerary to be followed during the two-week EVRN 498 course.

 

Fall 2023

EVRN 499 Kansas Environmental Futures (1 credits)

Kansas Environmental Futures (Part 2 of the Kansas Abroad Program) asks: What will the future of Kansas’ environment look like? To this end, the Fall 2023 course  offers a research-based experience where students select a specific environmental theme to research for the semester. The project concludes with a written document and public presentation on the research topic, as well as as student contributions to a public exhibition of hte Kansas Abroad program.

Selected participants must commit to participating in the entirety of the experience. 

Students will be housed in double occupany accommodations throughout the program.  Accommodations may include university dormitories, hotels or bed & breakfasts, yurt or camping facilities, etc.  Breakfast daily and several lunches and dinners will be included throughout the program itinerary.

The Kansas Abroad program is open to all KU Environmental Studies majors who have been a declared-major for at least one year. Prior to the participation in the Kansas Abroad program, students should have completed EVRN 140 & EVRN 142 (or their equivalents).

Paul Stock is a rural and environmental sociologist who has been a professor at KU for over 10 years. With research interests in agriculture, food, and the environment, Kansas offers a unique laboratory.

For more information contact:

Paul Stock, Associate Professor and Undergraduate Coordinator
The Environmental Studies Program
Paul.Stock@ku.edu