Catherine Miner, Utah State University
The mission of Utah State University is to be one of the nation's premier student-centered land-grant and space-grant universities by fostering the principle that academics come first, by cultivating diversity of thought and culture, and by serving the public through learning, discovery, and engagement. Aggies Global Observatory is an effort to fulfill this mission statement by providing a resource which interprets current events through geopolitical frameworks in order to encourage a variety of perspectives, inform the public, provide resources for continual learning, and cultivate undergraduate engagement with the public. The project is accessible to the public as a website with a set of essays which explain basic premises of political geography. The essays define geopolitics, geographical entities, power, geopolitical codes, identities, boundaries, and flows. Student authors who work on the project write essays about topics which appear in the news in which they clearly attach defined concepts to actual events. Essays are added continually and older pieces are organized into archives. Geopolitical assessments do not often offer rose-colored lenses through which to view historical or continued action. Introducing concepts through relevant topics helps encourage individuals to expand the perspectives they are comfortable discussing and promotes active reflection on how to craft a better future. Our project will be successful if readership better understands the relationships which drive the world they live in and can further interpret news related agendas and information. In the process, the project enhances students’ knowledge of political geography and provides experience in writing about academic concepts in a way that allows communication to a non-academic audience.