Skip to content

Programs : Brochure

This page is the brochure for your selected program. You can view the provided information for this program on this page and click on the available buttons for additional options.
  • Locations: Sahuarita, United States
  • Program Terms: Jan Term
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Program Type: Jan Term
Program Description:

Common Ground on the Border
Faculty leader: Walt Michael



Course Description
This Jan Term course ( 9 days in January, 2021 – exact dates TBA) will take an in-depth, interactive look at the realities of immigration in the the Arizona-Mexico borderlands.  On campus, a series of films and discussions during the fall semester will precede a January trip to Sahuarita, Arizona, where we will attend the Border Fair and Common Ground on the Border, two simultaneous events that take place at the Church of the Good Shepherd. Students will reside in the homes of church members and will interact with members of the Green Valley Samaritans and other activist humanitarian border organizations.  Students will enroll in a selection of Common Ground on the Border classes, including art, music and dialog.  Students will work with the Samaritans in a variety of activities including searching the desert for stranded migrants and placing drinking water in the desert. 
Students will also visit the US District Court in Tucson where Operation Streamline takes place, sentencing up to 100 migrants daily to prison terms and deportation.  Students will have the opportunity to experience the incredible beauty of the Sonoran Desert, which will include a visit to the Sonoran Desert Museum, a day-hike in the Madeira Canyon and visiting one of several Spanish missions. 

The class will be led by Walt Michael, Founder of Common Ground on the Hill and Artist in Residence at McDaniel College.  Click on this link to read about his experiences in the borderlands.  There are two entries ….. scroll down to the bottom for the first entry, then read the entry at the top.

Participants must be comfortable with a fair amount of walking, exploring the Sonoran Desert.  Participants must be mentally and physically able to handle high stress situations.  Knowledge of Spanish is desirable but not a prerequisite.


Location: Sahuarita, Arizona
Dates: TBA

Highlighted Itinerary Activities - ***Dates listed below are based on the 2020 class***
Jan. 13: Leave from BWI, arrival in Arizona, dinner, orientation
Jan. 14: Visit Sonoran Desert Museum and US Federal District Court, Tucson.
Jan. 15: Tour the Sonoran Desert   Visit a migrant memorial in the desert
Jan. 16: Visit the Commodore, a Jesuit migrant care station in Nogales.
Jan. 17: Common Ground on the Border events: music and craft classes, evening concert featuring blues artist Scott Ainslie.
Jan. 18: Common Ground on the Border events: music and craft classes, key note speakers and a concert of a variety of Southwest musicians.
Jan. 19: Tubac Presidio Concert with Teodoro Ramirez, Tucson’s Official Troubador and John Coinman, Musical Director of Dances With Wolves and the Kevin Costner Band.  Shopping at the Tubac Presidio outlets.
Jan. 20: Sight Seeing
Jan. 21: Return to Maryland


Students will stay in the homes of church members and Green Valley Samaritans.  Meals will be provided at the Common Ground on the Border event, and other meals will be taken in restaurants.  All food costs are covered by the total fee.


Course objective: To gain a full understanding of immigration issues in the Sonoran Desert, while working with the Green Valley Samaritans and attending Common Ground on the Border and the Border Fair.

Students will view several films during the Fall semester at a time convenient to all participants.  Instructor will give an orientation and group panning session.

Students will write a reflection paper and make a campus presentation in the second semester, utilizing cell phone videos and pictures, interviews, etc.


$1,500, plus $130 Jan term fee.


Maximum capacity: 6

Click "Apply Now" above and follow the prompts to log in.  Participants will need to speak with Walt before being accepted.

Note: Registration in a study tour does not guarantee participation. The faculty leader for the study must provide final approval for all registered students to participate.


Application deadline: Sept. 15, 2021

Last day to withdrawal:  Oct. 1, 2021

This program is currently not accepting applications.