CEDAR CITY — Southern Utah University is making history this year by offering an entire semester in Bryce Canyon National Park.
A select group of students will study, live and work in and around the beautiful red rocks of Bryce Canyon in the unique experience the university is offering from August to December. “Semester in the Parks” celebrates the National Park Service Centennial and will include weekend trips to other national parks in the region.
SUU is accepting applications now and can accommodate up to 20 students from any major. If accepted into the program, students are guaranteed employment, housing and meals at Ruby’s Inn Resort just outside the national park and located in Garfield County, 77 miles from the SUU campus. Field transportation, camping and park entrance fees are also included. Additionally, students will receive an annual Interagency Pass, granting them access to more than 2,000 recreation areas nationwide.
Students will take 16 credits from experienced faculty on-site in Bryce Canyon with classes that include outdoor recreation, geology, communication, biology and library science. The program is designed to provide immersion in the parks for students who are already comfortable with the university experience but may want an off-campus opportunity.
Administrators say the program is ideal for sophomore-level students but is open to all interested registered students. Regular course tuition and student fees will be required. Living expenses of housing, meals, lodging, camping and entrance fees will cost $1,200. However, in a unique partnership with Ruby’s Inn, enrolled students have a guaranteed job at the resort that can help cover the cost of these living expenses, making program costs affordable.
“SUU has made it a priority for all students to have learning experiences inspired by its unique natural surroundings, so what better way than by studying in a national park for a whole semester?” Program Director Anne Smith said. “We’re excited to offer a new program to help celebrate our national park neighbors’ 100th birthday.”
The Semester in the Parks program falls in line with SUU’s Mission Statement. SUU considers itself a dynamic teaching and learning community inspired by its unique natural surroundings with opportunities to harness and integrate its unique geographic location in the SUU educational experience.