Nine students took advantage of the 2017 Fall Special Topics: Industrialization and Public Memory course offered by Seton Hill’s Hospitality and Tourism and History Programs. In order to better understand the industrial developments in the state of Pennsylvania - including the decline of the late 20th century - the students, led by Assistant Professor of Hospitality & Tourism James Bosco, D.Ed. and History Professor John Spurlock, Ph.D., participated in weekly biking excursions on various trails in Western Pa. Trails explored included the Coal & Coke Trail, Ghost Town Trail, Steel Valley Heritage Trail, Westmoreland Heritage Trail and Great Allegheny Passage.
The biking excursions took place from the beginning of the 2017 fall semester until mid-October. As the semester winded down, students developed tourism plans for select sites in the region. The final presentation of student plans came at a public meeting held at Seton Hill University. It included stakeholders from the region, including many who were active in the communities where the projects took place. “The meeting was well attended by various regional stakeholders and we are hoping it leads to a grant to promote trail town tourism in Scottdale,” stated Professor Bosco.
Grace Strauser, a junior in the Hospitality and Tourism Program, was thankful for the ability to network and the experiences she gained from the course. “I have participated in a number of Special Topics Courses throughout my college career and this has been one of the best! The weekly excursions allowed a way of connecting authentically, exploring new areas as well as networking with various stakeholders.”
Sophomore Jessie Belding, also a Hospitality and Tourism Program major, reflected on her favorite part of the course. “One of my favorite part of the Industrialization and Public Memory course was my final research assignment. I researched child labor in coal mines and was able to present my findings to stakeholders from the region.”
Special Topics Courses are offered every semester at Seton Hill and vary from term to term. They provide Setonians with the ability to explore and pursue chosen topics of interest to learn in greater depth.