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WKU Toppers at Sea 2014 program to study climate change issues

During summer 2014, college students, pre-college youth and adult learners can study climate change in the North Atlantic while on board a state-of-the-art floating campus.

ship-sea-clouds-logo-text7430330The “Climate Change Challenge” is a faculty-led study abroad program offered through WKU Toppers at Sea. Voyagers of all ages will study the that impact climate change has on the world. The program takes place aboard the MV Explorer, a 1,000-passenger vessel operated by the Institute for Shipboard Education (ISE). The program includes courses in geography, meteorology, economics, political science, interdisciplinary studies, astronomy and education.

Ellen Barringer, an environmental health graduate student from Louisville, studied on board the MV Explorer in the fall of 2012. She said that that studying on board “facilitates exceptional academic discussions outside of the classroom and also provides a special relationship between faculty and students.”

Toppers at Sea offers a three-credit course along with a one-credit hour service-learning course; however, noncredit voyagers are encouraged to participate fully as well.  Voyagers under 17 will learn about climate change through a special youth program.

The “Climate Change Challenge” is the first university-sponsored interdisciplinary symposium on climate change held on the MV Explorer and the first climate change symposium cosponsored by The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre in Belize.

The study abroad portion of the program begins in Stockholm, Sweden, on May 30 and ends in Southampton, England, on June 15.  The itinerary includes stops at Stockholm, Copenhagen, the Shetland Islands, three ports in Iceland, Northern Ireland and Southampton, England.

WKU is also partnering with the University of Reykjavik in Iceland to offer a climate change symposium.

Dr. Bernard Strenecky, co-leader of the program, said the importance of this opportunity is that students address climate change issues through the implementation of The $100 Dollar Solution™, a service teaching program encouraging students to implement change in their community with small steps to large challenges.  Strenecky added that WKU will extend its international reach as WKU students and faculty share their findings with the academic community of Iceland.

Stephen Farley, a business management major from Franklin, studied on board in the spring of 2012 and will help recruit for the program. He said that studying on board the MV Explorer gave him insight into international business. He added, “What other program affords you with the opportunity for hands-on experience with markets around the world?”

Chelsea Cornett, a Bowling Green political science major, also studied on board in the spring of 2012.  She believes Toppers at Sea participants will be able to watch themselves grow, adding, “I hope they can embrace the challenge study abroad provides, and allow it to open up the world for them.”

Toppers at Sea is made possible partnership with WKU’s Housing & Residence Life, the Institute for Shipboard Education’s Enrichment Voyages, and the $100 Dollar Solution™.

Applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served, rolling basis until Feb. 6 and include a non-refundable $250 deposit. Installment payments will be due in January and March with the final payment due by May 6.

Faculty-Led Study Abroad programs are administered by Study Away in partnership with faculty and staff program leaders, their academic units, Study Abroad & Global Learning, and the Office of International Programs. WKU Study Away is a unit of Extended Learning & Outreach.

More about the credit and noncredit options is found at http://www.wku.edu/flsa/toppersatsea2014/.

Contact: Jerry Barnaby, (270) 745-2231 or facultyled.abroad@wku.edu

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