SLUH’s new freshman Human Geography class is expanding the bounds of traditional course material. The class features a Passport program, an all-year field experiential project that allows students to explore the intersections of human geography and real experiences within the wider community spanning 100 different zip codes.
For the first time, all freshmen received a Passport when they began at SLUH last August. They earn stamps after visiting local landmarks and institutions – such as Crown Candy, CahokiaMounds, Hindu Temple, Cherokee Business District and several universities – and completing related assignments.
What are some of the experiences and insights of students with the Passport program?Below are a few of their perspectives, in their own words.
During my first Passport experience, I went to Soulard for a Hispanic festival with the Spanish Club. While I heard and danced to festive music and tasted vibrant flavors of enchiladas, empanadas and tamales, I also marveled at the unique brick architecture of Soulard. It was insightful, eye-opening and fun. In fact, I enjoyed that afternoon so much that I brought my family that evening so they could enjoy the same enriching experience. Along with the experience follows a reflection, which allows students to assimilate terms used in class through real life experiences. The Human Geography Passport allows us to embark on cultural journeys throughout St. Louis, which lead to real learning and allow for viewpoints to broaden and cultural acceptance to occur.
- NOAH APPRILL-SOKOL '21
The Human Geography Passport brings learning in the classroom into real life. In the first quarter when I completed my Passport, I decided to go with a friend to the Gelateria on the Hill. I had been to the Hill before, but this time I had a whole new perspective. I was more conscious about the details, how the culture affected the architecture and the general atmosphere.
- HAYDEN RUTLEDGE '21
I visited the Ritz Carlton, the Delmar Loop and Scottrade Center through this program, which has helped me broaden my views and opinions on matters that I have overlooked in the past. One of the most important ideas I’ve learned is to never take anything or anyone for granted. Everywhere I go, I now pay closer attention to the little things around me: the unique faces of the people I pass; the architecture of the buildings around me; the traits and habits of particular groups of people, all while acknowledging that each human is unique. Ultimately, the program has revealed to me concepts and ideas that are quite intense and profound, and I would never have taken notice of them in the past.
- JONATHAN GRIMES '21
I had the opportunity to take photos of Forest Park for our Bicentennial Day of Service and all of the amazing things that were going on that day. I had been to Forest Park many times before, but when I focused on paying attention to my experience and the area around me, I realized how much you can miss when you go through the motions. The conversations with my classmates and our Forest Park leader gave some amazing insight to the day. All in all, I feel the passport program is a great learning opportunity that allows us to slow down and appreciate what is around us in St. Louis.
- ANDREW MUNIE '21