CU law course includes rafting trip

9NEWS at 4 p.m. 3/2/17.

KUSA - University of Colorado Boulder law students will be getting out of the classroom and onto a raft this summer.

They are learning about Colorado river laws and what better way to do that - than to get out on the water. 

About 19 Students are taking the "Law of the Colorado River" seminar this semester.

Unlike traditional law school courses, the instructor is taking her students out of the classroom for two weeks on rafting trip on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon over the summer.

"You spend two weeks completely offline, there's no cell coverage down there in the bottom of the canyon, running huge rapids in the river, and camping every night for two weeks," said Sarah Krakoff, a Raphael J. Moses Professor of Law at CU Boulder.

As you might imagine, law students spend a lot of time in classrooms and on computers - so they are excited for the hands-on experience.

"Being able to break away from that and really experience the subject matter of this course, and just an incredible, natural feature of the west is invaluable to us as we move forward in our careers and our studies," said CU law student Laura Shields.

"They all want to be natural resources, environmental or water law attorneys, or continue to work these fields in some way," added Professor Krakoff. "So I think giving them this vivid experience of how law affects place or how work affects law will help shape them into our next generation of leaders in this area."

Students will meet with park rangers, non-profit groups that help communities along the river, and other experts involved in the Colorado River's maintenance and management.

They will also learn about the communities who live along the river.

"There are a lot of issues that affect the American Indian Tribes that either have land rights or treaty rights along the river, there are 11 tribes that have interest in the Grand Canyon and the Colorado river," said Krakoff. "They have rights to be consulted about various federal actions that occur along Colorado." 

Krakoff went on to say that the two-week rafting trip has enlivened the entire classroom experience this semester, and will continue to do that, up until they set off on the trip.

"One thing that is really great, is every week when we come to class here in Boulder we are reading about the history and present day effects of legal conflicts that I know my students are then going to get to go and experience, and see, and witness. It's made the class come alive every week for us in the classroom. You know we can sort of show them on the map where the places are that we are talking about and they can envision it and know they'll be rafting through the heart of all of these issues that they're studying," she said.

The trip will cost about $4,000 dollars per student.

The CU Law school is covering part of the cost, but the instructor setup a crowd funding page to help raise the rest of the money.

If you'd like to help the campaign out, you can click here to donate.

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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