The 2023 Expedition is now complete! Check out the “Big Muddy” map, which includes posts, videos, and information from the 2023 expedition.
Travel from the Headwaters to the Gulf of Mexico as part of this unique educational expedition. Students earn a full semester of college credits with a customized curriculum focused on environmental justice and social change in the Mississippi watershed. The River Semester is a chance to explore new ways of learning and living, outside the carbon-intensive confines of mainstream educational practices.
- a unique, fully-immersive educational experience and opportunity
- travel the Mississippi River from the headwaters to the Gulf of Mexico on a 100-day canoe expedition
- customized curriculum and courses to fit your interests and graduation requirements
- develop a field research project on topics such as urban environmental justice, the Clean Water Act, agriculture in the watershed, political organizing around environmental issues, race relations and social justice, or urban riverfront revitalization
- explore the history, literature, food, music, and culture of the American heartland
- gain skills tailored to fit the needs of partner businesses and institutions including graduate schools, nonprofits, and government agencies
- meet with local experts, “river rats,” and environmental organizations
- hear from guest lecturers on topics such Mark Twain, Traditional Ecological Knowledge, ancient river civilizations, American Indian communities and their fight for justice, and the urban resilience in the age of climate change
Those interested in registering as researchers, fellow travelers, or guest lecturers can contact the Program Director at email@example.com, or apply to the program via this form.
“There is an element to this trip where we never leave class. It’s amazing to be able to have conversations with people that not only make you question and think about yourself and what you believe, but also think about what you have never thought about before. I have never wanted to learn so much more about everything.”
— River Semester student journal entry
More about the Program
- The Mississippi River Open School for Kinship and Social Exchange (a Mellon Foundation funded program for 2023-24)
- Our 2019 partnership with the “Mississippi. An Anthropocene River” Project.
- Slide deck of “Tales from the River“
- Article on the River Semester and essay on the Paradox of Water in Open Rivers
- Blog post on why we have the River Semester.