By: Carol Bonino
Sue Weitz, vice president for Student Life since 1987, and two Gonzaga students, Chelsea Davidson and Aubrey Giordano, have been joined by South African activist and former cleric Desmond Tutu for the fall term ocean voyage sponsored by Semester at Sea. They departed at the end of August from Halifax, Nova Scotia for their cruise around the world, which will include a stop in South Africa to celebrate Tutu’s 79th birthday.
Sue will be serving as executive dean for the 103rd voyage of the Semester at Sea program. The living-and-learning community of 601 students from 256 institutions promises to be a real voyage of discovery, and Sue is in charge of the whole show for this trip!
The tour will make stops in Spain, Morocco, Ghana, South Africa, Mauritius, India, Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong, China, Japan, and Hawaii before ending at San Diego.
Courses promise to be as intriguing as the itinerary, including, for example The Quest for Peace, Prosperity, and Preservation; Aging and Culture; Biology for Poets; Higher Education in a Global Economy; and Global Music, to name but a few. Outside of class, students have numerous extracurricular activities ranging from participating in musical groups to performing diplomatic services while in port.
Tutu is along for the entire voyage, providing “Explorer Seminars,” a series of evening chats with students. Sue says that the informal, intimate setting of the ship will provide the ideal opportunity for the students aboard to learn much from one of the world’s most beloved leaders for peace.
This will be Sue’s third time traveling with Semester at Sea. Her first voyage was in 1996 and the second in 2004. Her family will be joining her on the trip.
“When you actually live in such close quarters and eat, sleep, learn, play and do so much together it creates a real student-centered learning community,” says Sue. “It’s a community that every land-based college would love to emulate. I get to spend every minute of the day with students, faculty, and staff in one location (obviously, because no one can get off!). By doing this, it helps me better understand today’s student and how to relate to them and how to have positive relationships with them. It also helps me understand different cultures and how those cultures can enrich any institution, including Gonzaga!”