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

Well-known environmental scholar to discuss the future of water in SOU visit

NEWS RELEASE (available online at
(Ashland, Ore.) — Nationally recognized environmental law scholar and author James Salzman will visit Southern Oregon University on Monday, April 10, to address a topic of relevance to everyone on Earth: “The History (and Future) of Drinking Water.”
Salzman points out that people have fought over water sources since before biblical times, and water continues to make headlines – including crises over the past few years in Charleston, West Virginia; Toledo, Ohio; and Flint, Michigan. He will discuss issues with tap water safety, concerns about future water supplies and fears about contamination by terrorists.
Salzman is the Donald Bren Distinguished Professor of Environmental Law with joint appointments at the UCLA School of Law and the Bren School of the Environment at University of California-Santa Barbara. His visit to SOU is sponsored by the university’s Environmental Science and Policy Department.
The lecture is at 7 p.m. in Room 151 of the SOU Science Building. Admission is free and the public is welcome to attend.
Salzman frequently serves as a media commentator and has offered environmental policy lectures on every continent except Antarctica. He previously served on the faculty of Duke University and as a visiting law professor at Columbia, Harvard, Stanford, Yale and at universities in Australia, Sweden, Portugal, China and Italy.
Prior to his work in academia, Salzman served in Paris in the Environment Directorate of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and in London as the European environmental manager for Johnson Wax.
The honors graduate of Yale College and Harvard University has published eight books and more than 80 articles and book chapters on topics ranging from drinking water to policy instrument design. His most recent book, “Drinking Water: A History,” is in its third printing.
About Southern Oregon University
Southern Oregon University is a medium-sized campus that provides comprehensive educational opportunities with a strong focus on student success and intellectual creativity. Located in vibrant Ashland, Oregon, SOU remains committed to diversity and inclusion for all students on its environmentally sustainable campus. Connected learning programs taught by a host of exceptional faculty provide quality, innovative experiences for students. Visit