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  • 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:
Program Type: Jan Term
Program Description:

Common Ground on the Border
Faculty leader: Walt Michael

Applications are still being accepted!


Course Description
This Jan Term course (January 14-22, 2019) 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 church and interact with members of the Green Valley Samaritans.  Students will learn from a wide variety of activist humanitarian border organizations as well as enrolling 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 may include a visit to the Sonoran Desert Museum, a day-hike in the Madeira Canyon and visiting one of several Spanish missions. 

As a capstone, students will work on presentations (writing, film, audio) that will be presented on campus in spring semester in an effort to shed light on the realities of immigration issues.

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

Students will gather on campus on Sunday, January 13th.  Students will fly to Tucson, Arizona on Monday, January 14th, returning to BWI on Monday, January 22nd.

Highlighted Itinerary Activities
Jan. 14: Leave from BWI, arrival in Arizona, dinner, orientation
Jan. 15: Orientation, meeting with a local rancher, U.S. border, Desert Museum
Jan. 16:  Day in Tucson assisting Human Borders Water Run
Jan. 17: Visit a migrant memorial in the desert.  Visit the Commodore, a Jesuit migrant care station.
Jan. 18: Common Ground on the Border events: music and craft classes, evening concert.
Jan. 19: Common Ground on the Border events: music and craft classes, key note speakers and a concert of a variety of Southwest musicians.
Jan. 20: Tubac Presidio Concert
Jan. 21: Sight Seeing
Jan. 22: Return to Maryland


Students will stay at a local church's facilities.  Some meals will be included.


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.




Maximum capacity: 8
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. By registering for this class you agree to allow the Office of Student Affairs to review and approve your student record along with the faculty instructor of the class. Your enrollment in this class is not final until Student Affairs and the faculty instructor for the class approve your registration.)


Application deadline: September 15, 2018  Applications are still being accepted!

Class registration date: September 20, 2018

Last day to withdrawal:  October 4, 2018


This program is currently not accepting applications.