J Term 2014 at SMU-in-Taos

During J Term 2014 at SMU-in-Taos, students are taking courses including Environmental Communications, Social Problems, Mountain Sports and Computers and Information Technology.

Learn more about J Term at SMU-in-Plano and SMU-in-Taos at smu.edu/jterm.

A return to beauty

IMG_2820An update from Savannah, a senior communications and history major who participated in the J Term classes Environmental Communication and Wellness:

As a second-semester senior, the reality that I will leave SMU is getting closer. But, this realization didn’t just hit me. Instead, that came very early in my senior year.

I’m very lucky to have been selected as a Hunt Scholar, and due to the generosity of the Hunt family we, the scholars, travel to Taos one weekend in the fall semester. This year, I was unable to go because of a conflict in my schedule, and I was distraught. Some of my favorite memories from SMU were made in Taos. In fact, some of my most cherished friendships were made on the Taos campus. So, the thought of missing my senior year stung. I vowed to get to Taos some way, as a sort of pilgrimage. But, as a senior, the possibility looked bleak.

Around November, I was presented my chance. When I went to register for classes my advisor mentioned the idea of J-Term. She then said the magic word “Taos,” and I was paying absolute attention. My desire to go to Taos finally had an opportunity to come to fruition! As we checked the schedule, we realized two credits I needed were offered, and it was a done deal.

Stepping on campus, I was elated to get back to the beautiful campus. My classes, Mountain Sports and Environmental Communications, were shaping up to be an adventure in themselves, and everyone there was just as excited as I was to get started. It all went by in a flash — days spent skiing, visiting environmental nonprofits, and meetings about making Taos a completely renewable town. I was immersed in a Taos that I had never seen before. It was a J-Term to remember. I was still pampered by the amazing staff while there, but the opportunity to spend two weeks, instead of two days, in Taos afforded me the chance to better understand the unique culture Taos offers.

Now, when I (hopefully) walk across the stage in May, I will have the memories of not just my time in Taos with my Hunts, but also with the many friends I made while I was there this past January. It was easily the best serendipitous thing to ever come out of an advising meeting, ever.

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A hidden treasure

At the Rio Grande Gorge

At the Rio Grande Gorge

An update from Franklin, a junior communication studies major who is enrolled in the J Term classes Environmental Communication and Wellness:

It’s cold, my legs are exhausted, and I have conquered my fear of flying down a mountain. Now on to some homework for my Environmental Communication class.

This is how I spent weekends during SMU J-Term in Taos. The activities are jam-packed into a short amount of time, but I would not have it any other way! Taos is a unique town to explore and to study during a cold winter, yet have fun at the same time.

I have had an opportunity to hike, cycle, and ski as part of my Wellness course. In my Environmental Communication class I have had just as much fun, listening to many fascinating and passionate speakers who are making a difference here and around the world. We’ve visited cultural, historic and civic sites, learning about the rich history of Taos and the important role the land plays in the lifestyle of the people here.

Good food and football

Good food and football

The SMU-in-Taos staff go out of their way to make you feel right at home. The food is great. During the NFL playoffs we enjoyed dinner while watching the game with fellow students in the campus dining hall. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the staff do their best to accommodate your needs, whether it is a vegetarian diet or a gluten-free diet or if you just need an extra tortilla, they are there to ensure you do not go hungry.

I have enjoyed my stay and I am looking forward to coming back to SMU-in-Taos, a hidden treasure.

Also follow the class on Facebook at SMU Environmental Communication, and on their class blog.


Hitting the slopes

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An experience not to be missed

image1An update from Tania, a junior majoring in communication studies with a minor in legal law and reasoning, who is enrolled in the J Term class Environmental Communications:

Standing in awe at the beauty of the snowcapped mountains and endless rivers in Taos, New Mexico, I now want to scream out to all SMU students to find their way to this wonderfully challenging and adventurous place! Enjoy this exhilarating environmental hot spot. This amazing experience is one that SMU students shouldn’t miss.

For me, it started as “Hey, the Taos office is on the 3rd floor of Blanton. Should I sign up?” The next steps involved filling out an application, talking to the financial aid office and then packing my bags and driving down with a group of five students. We came out a few days early to take the wellness class. It has been a surprising relief to find that the class has graciously accommodated our various skill levels in skiing and snowboarding.

Around here, I was part of the “never ever group.” I had never ever had a ski boot on or attempted to take on this wild terrain. But, I discovered that I could not only learn to ski, but also to snowboard, hike a snow-covered mountain, take a spin class and study environmental issues all in one wintery location. Amazing, I tell you! And in our cozy casitas at night, we gather to discuss all the different classes, while making new friends, and enjoying the whole experience. Did I mention the food is unbelievable here?

So in closing, I am calling all Mustangs! This summer, fall or next J Term, don’t miss the opportunity to visit this stunning and historically rich Fort Burgwin campus, and the surrounding towns. Tradition, culture, fellowship, and adventure — the four hallmarks of SMU-in-Taos — have impacted my college experience for life. It’s the perfect place to pony up, my friends! Pony up!


Hiking at SMU-in-Taos

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Environmental Communications in Taos

An update from Nina Flournoy, Communication Studies senior lecturer in Meadows School of the Arts, who is teaching Environmental Communications during J Term at SMU-in-Taos:

Touring the Earthship Biotecture development outside of Taos.

Touring the Earthship Biotecture development outside of Taos.


Environmental Communications students with Western Environmental Law Center attorney Kyle Tisdel.

Also follow the class on Facebook at SMU Environmental Communication, and on their class blog.

The J Term course examines complex environmental issues in Northern New Mexico, where the convergence of diverse cultures, ancient traditions and modern innovation present unique challenges for establishing meaningful environmental consensus.

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