Westmont College: Inoculum

Westmont College Inoculum Program



The Inoculum program is a Westmont off-campus program that happens during the last few weeks of summer. Open to both incoming and returning students, the purpose of the Inoculum is to provide an orientation to Westmont College. During our 12 days in the Sierra high country, we'll have the opportunity to dig deeply into a readings and discussion that allow us to think about the meaning of a Christian liberal arts education and the ways in which this might transform our relationship with God, with each other, and with God's creation.

Students receive 2 general education elective credits (1 Interdisciplinary Studies, 1 PE), backpacking in small groups of six to eight students. Each group also includes a Westmont faculty member and two experienced guides. Prior to the trip, students are sent readings and assignments from the professor (in past years these have ranged from Phillip Yancey's What's So Amazing About Grace to Thomas a Kempis' Imitation of Christ to Vikto Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning). These readings are discussed around camp stoves and pristine mountain lakes during the trip, and students typically write a short paper early in the Fall term after returning.

And of course, it's not all academic. We spend the entire time in the North Yosemite backcountry and surrounding wilderness, camping and trekking in some of the most spectacular, untouched alpine country in the United States. Along the way, we'll spend a day rock climbing (no experience necessary), and a day summitting one of the High Sierra peaks. All climbing -- and the rest of the trek, as well -- is supervised by guides from Sierra Treks, an outstanding Christian wilderness program that has helped our students get into the mountains for over 25 years.

The cost is $1880 (a $450 deposit is due with registration, the balance later in the summer). This covers transportation to & from Westmont, food during the backpack, 2 units of course credit, insurance, equipment, and guides. You need to bring good boots, a reasonably well-conditioned body, and a willing heart.



WHEN: August 13-25, 2015 (dinner, slide show, and orientation on August 13; families are welcome)
WHERE: North Yosemite & surrounding wilderness near Bridgeport, CA; transportation to and from Westmont is provided.
WHO: 1 faculty leader, 2 Sierra Trek guides, and 6-8 Westmont students (returning and first-year) in each group
CURRICULUM: It depends on the particular group you get assigned to; recent year's readings range from Thomas a Kempis' Imitation of Christ to Yancey's What's So Amazing About Grace to writings by John Muir.
ITINERARY: We drive to Bridgeport in the eastern Sierra on the first day, pack up and distribute gear in the park, and hike in a mile or so to our first camp. During the rest of the trip, we're either hiking or taking a layover day at one of the camp sites. One of the layover days is devoted to an introduction to rock climbing, another to a peak climb (where you'll have an opportunity to put some of your climbing skills to work), and another to "solo," 24 hours alone with your Bible and the mountains.
COST: $1880: $450 is due as a deposit with the registration form. The balance of $1430 is due July 15.

HOW TO REGISTER: Registration for Inoculum 2015 will open mid-April. Just mail in the registration form (downloaded from the Inoculum homepage) and deposit check to reserve your spot on the trip. Space is limited to a small number of incoming students. You are encouraged to register by May 31.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact Dr. Eileen McMahon McQuade, Assoc. Professor of Biology and Director of the Inoculum Program. Telephone (805-565-6117) or email mcmahon@westmont.edu. The Inoculum is one of Westmont's many off-campus programs, and is under the general auspices of the Off-Campus Programs Office (contact Barb Pointer at 805-565-6009 or bpointer@westmont.edu).