Students study environmental issues in India

We’re not in Montana anymore. That’s the sentiment of a group of students taking part in an environmental writing and reporting study trip to India this January.

Students and faculty from the University of Montana School of Journalism are studying the impacts of population on the environment in two distinct locations in India. Professor Emeritus Clem Work and Interim Dean Denise Dowling traveled half way around the world with 23 students in journalism, environmental studies and film studies to explore the effects of tourism and growth.

For most students, the study abroad trip is their first experience outside the United States.  Alexandria Valdez from Eaton, Colorado is a junior in the School of Journalism; she had never traveled internationally before this trip. “As a reporter, I like going to big cities and big places. With people comes stories, so I knew coming to India I would find people and stories and experience something very different than in America.”

The group spent a week at the Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve in central India exploring the conflict between conserving the tiger population and the economic boost that comes with increased tourism. The student reporters will also spend time in the city of Pune, India, looking at issues ranging from health effects of air pollution to solid waste disposal systems.

The students will produce a web site with multi-media projects including photographs, videos, audio and writing. You can find the work in progress at or check out the Facebook page for the University of Montana School of Journalism.

Valdez says she expects the experience will help her land a good job in the future because she can now add international reporting to her resume. “The only thing I’m missing is a hamburger. I’d really like a hamburger,” she added with a smile. 

- posted on 01/04/14 -