Because of the intensity and the remoteness of some Wildlands Studies Projects, two or three weeks may pass with no access to means of communication. Upon arrival to a project, the instructor will ask students to contact their families via either phone or internet to let them know they arrived safely. Instructors will then try to provide access to phone or internet periodically throughout the course, about once every two weeks, and again, encourage students to contact home. As a field based project, we will frequently be in places where there is no cell phone coverage or means to charge cell phones and/or have limited internet access for extended periods of time, particularly when we are in the backcountry or at remote research stations. It is typical on our projects for communication with family and friends to occur only once or twice during the entire project. We do strongly encourage students to contact home when phone or email is available.
Even when access is available, we have found that some students are so caught up in their experience and the activities, that they neglect to contact home. Additionally, sometimes when access to a phone is available, it can often be a public pay phone in an area with no cell phone or internet coverage, which may mean that students are not able to talk for long, and in some cases, may not even get through to their families during the allotted communication time. It is very important that family and friends understand that students will have extremely limited communication during the project so that they do not worry about students unnecessarily. The Wildlands Studies office in Santa Cruz, CA will know how to get in contact with students in the case of an emergency back home.
Leslie Arutunian, Director
Santa Cruz Office