This spring, Temple’s School of Media and Communication is introducing an all new study away program to Arcosanti, Arizona. Arcosanti, located 70 miles north of Phoenix, Arizona, is a small city designed with ecologically conscious architecture, ideal for studying the relationships between modern living and the natural environments that surround us. Students going to Arcosanti will knock out a 3-credit class over spring break while first-hand observing the relationships between media, ecology, technology and architecture. The end result: a student-made documentary.
Beyond the classroom, amazing experiences apart of the Arcosanti program include trips to the Grand Canyon and to the Biosphere 2, a scientific research center that houses seven controlled ecosystems! Students will also be able to enjoy hiking, swimming, star-gazing and magnificent desert views, up to 20 miles away from their dorm room! The new study away program is headed by Dr. Barry Vacker, who got his inspiration back in 2012 while attending a conference in Phoenix with a colleague from the University of Massachusetts and a Temple alumni. “I told them about Arcosanti, and they wanted to go visit. So we went, and they both fell in love with it, and they were like wow, we should get Temple students to come here. The director of Arcosanti was there, and we started talking, and he said he would love to have media students come out to Arcosanti.”
In fact, this is the first group of media studies students that will be going to Arcosanti despite having been visited and studied by over 7,000 students from around the world since 1970.
While SMC has many study away programs, Arcosanti is one of a kind. Most study away programs will take you to cities such as London, Barcelona, NYC, or Miami, but Arcosanti will give you peace from the city and allow you to experience life in the desert. No, this does not mean camping in the desert.
“The uniqueness of Arcosanti is that it’s outside of a major city, it’s its own self-contained city. So you can see our relationship to the environment and to the natural world up close. You can’t really understand our relationship to the environment and how dependent we are on it if your inside the city the whole time,” said Vacker.
SMC student Abby Moore is incredibly excited for the Arcosanti trip. “Instead of sitting around at home, I’m going to be exploring an awesome experimental city, visiting the Grand Canyon, and enjoying the break from classes. We’re going to make a short documentary during the break, too, and Arcosanti is absolutely stunning. It should be an awesome video to use, maybe even to submit to the MSP awards if it comes out well.”
Arcosanti is an ideal study away for a wide range of students. As Vacker puts it, “it’s a one of a kind sight in which the architect who built it has an example of how we can better integrate our architecture with the natural world, and there’s no other place like it.”