By Brandon Irby
Educational travel opportunities at RSU are being dropped this summer in light of the weak economy.
Even so, more trips could be on the way in 2011.
The university-sponsored summer trip to Italy, which had successful runs in 2008 and 2009, will not take place this summer.
Last year’s summer trip to South Korea and May intersession trip to Chicago will also not be renewed.A trip to London is still planned this semester. As of April 19, five RSU students have committed to the trip.
“Although this is not the kind of number we would like to see, it is part of a building process,” said Gregory Thompson, associate professor and head of the Department of English and Humanities.
The cancelations are signs of “the weak economy,” he said.
Thompson is the head of the newly-formed Center for Studies-At-Large, which coordinates all of RSU’s travel study opportunities—trips for RSU students to earn class credit while studying abroad during summer or intersession semesters.
RSU’s study abroad ventures began in their current form in 2008.
Since then, various departments have expressed interest in leading educational trips.
The Center for Studies-At-Large is hoping to have learning opportunities in China, as well as to resurrect its Italy trip, in 2011. A return to Chicago is also in the works for 2011.
In 2012, there are hopes for trips to Spain and South Korea.
Thompson said RSU will coordinate with universities in each of these countries to keep costs low, provide the best learning opportunities and encouraging students to reciprocate by visiting RSU.
The costs of these trips are in the $3,000 range, which “sounds like a big chunk of money. Well, it is a large chunk of money,” said Thompson.
But he notes that financial aid is available for the trips.