SOU-Tulum ruins-Mayan

SOU summer field course to include Mayan Riviera trip

SOU’s Environmental Science and Policy program will mix academics with vacation-type fun in a field course next summer that will focus on marine biology, sustainable development and tourism.

The course, Ecoadventure: Mayan Riviera (ES 408), is worth six credits and will take place beginning in June on SOU’s campus, online and during an 11-day trip to Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Vincent Smith, an associate professor and chair of Environmental Science and Policy, will teach the course.

“The course will focus on the impacts of tourism and development on the culture and environment of Mexico’s Mayan Riveira,” Smith said.

The total cost is expected to be about $4,000, including six credits of tuition for $990 and a trip fee of approximately $3,000 that will include airfare, lodging, food and ground transportation. The course is open to all students, regardless of their major.

The exact dates will be set during Winter Term, but the trip to Mexico is expected to leave the Medford airport around June 24.

The flight will land in Cancun, and several locations will be visited during the 11-day stay. Students will visit the Chichen Itza Mayan Ruins and take a walking tour of the historic city of Vallodolid. There will be plenty of time water play, including snorkeling at Cozumel and Tulum, and among cenotes (aquatic caverns). There will also be ziplining, Jeep tours, underground rafting, a hike through a spider monkey preserve and other activities.

Those who are interested in learning more about the field course are asked to fill out an online form to receive emails regarding trip updates, registration deadlines, exact costs and other details.

Smith has taught a number of classes at SOU and his research explores the coupled human-environment systems that shape the world. Smith’s work spans from human ecology to agroecology.

He enjoys working with students from a variety of backgrounds and is currently working with two undergraduate students on collaborative research.

For more information, view the course website or contact Smith at

Story by Bryn Mosier, SOU Marketing and Communications intern