Domestic Travel Brings Cost Issues


by Tyler Utzka

May term options and travel opportunities have been dominating discussions with students and faculty, and abroad trips are now being finalized while domestic trip applications were due Nov. 19.

May term travel courses are meant to be educational and fun. Unfortunately, money is a major deciding factor for many students who are thinking of traveling domestically or abroad. Currently, there are five domestic travel courses available for students.

The most expensive domestic trip is led by Tom Woldt, theatre department chair and assistant professor, and his wife Ann Woldt, assistant professor and educational outreach coordinator, called New Broadways: Professional Regional Theatre in the Midwest. This trip alone costs approximately $1,650 per student. The course will take students to the cities of Minneapolis, Chicago and either Denver or St. Louis.

John Bolen, assistant professor of religion, is leading Native American Spiritualism: The Ghost Dance this year. Bolen explains some of the differences when it comes to the cost of the travel courses.

“It is difficult to compare current May term domestic travel courses with previous May term travel courses,” Bolen said. “Many of the less expensive domestic travel courses were traveling for a shorter period of time than they do now, and the cost of travel, food [and] accommodations have risen quite a bit.”

Bolen does not want students to be discouraged after seeing the price of each course.

“If you look at domestic travel courses from last year there was one that cost $2,300 per student, another listed at $1,800 per student, another at over $1,000,” Bolen said. “Today’s domestic travel courses are traveling farther and reaching farther than they have in the past.  Even at that, they are still much cheaper than most study abroad travel courses for May term. There is no question that students will get their money’s worth in these domestic travel courses.”

Another course called Humanities 190, will be led by Assistant Professor of Religion Jan Everhart and assisted by Bobby Nalean, leadership coordinator for Center for Vocation and Integrative Learning. During this course students will spend one week in the classroom and the second week doing intensive work in Denver with those who are hungry, ill and physically challenged. In the final days students will spend time in the Rocky Mountains.

“Our trip costs $550, which we think is affordable; it has gone up though,” Nalean said. “We think it’s a number that won’t deter students since it is one of the cheaper trips available.”

The costs for the trip are for the necessities.

“There is really no other cost for our trip because we do very simple living,” Nalean said. “We had a great turn out at the [domestic travel] fair which is to be expected, but applications [were not] due until the 19 so it’s hard to see where we are at.”

Nalean does not think that the cost of the course will discourage students away from the trip.

“I think that the cost for this trip is very manageable just from talking to students,” Nalean said. “They seem to be interested in the course and are taking the applications. I think it’s a very affordable travel option.”