First-Year Odyssey Seminars with IDM

“A Field Guide to Resilience” with Michelle Ritchie

What does nature mean to you? In this engaging FYO seminar, students will explore their environmental ethics and impacts and learn to foster their resilience. Through hands-on activities, discussions, and field-based experiences, students will explore their connections to the natural world — from UGA’s campus to the deepest depths of the oceans! This FYO seminar is designed as an experiential learning companion to Braiding Sweetgrass, a best-selling non-fiction book written by distinguished professor Robin Wall Kimmerer of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. In Braiding Sweetgrass, Dr. Kimmerer captivatingly blends scientific and Indigenous knowledge in a series of ecological essays that ask us to (re)consider the relationship between humans and the non-human world.

“The Reality of Disasters” with Curt Harris

Disasters are in the eye of the beholder! Wait, that’s not right. This seminar will focus on introducing students to the world of disasters and the difficult decisions faced when trying to do the greatest good for the greatest number. We will begin by defining disasters and the types of people that respond to them. We will then consider the historical context of September 11th, 2001, and its lasting implications on the field of disaster management. We will explore ethical decision-making related to disasters, the importance of communication, and when warning systems fail. Finally, we will show students how to become involved in disaster preparedness at UGA and their respective communities, build go-kits for real-world events, and certify them in Stop-the-Bleed. The lessons are designed to be engaging, interactive, and practical. Students will have the opportunity to meet and hear from campus leaders who work to keep us safe.

“Surviving Disasters” with Kelli McCarthy

Reading through Amanda Ripley’s “The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes – and Why”, we will explore various disasters, how humans react to disasters, who tends to survive these events, and dive into why. Disasters discussed will be of varying types – natural, technological, and terroristic. These discussions will allow students to self-examine what their response may be when faced with a disaster.

First-Year Odyssey Events with the IDM

Ready, Set, Go-Bags!

First-Year Odyssey SeminarsStudents from each FYO meet and present their go-bags during a social event hosted at the IDM. During this event, students also tour IDM facilities, talk with current faculty, staff, and students, and learn about campus and career opportunities in disaster management.

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Flooding & Climate Change

Climate change is driving more inland and coastal flooding across the U.S., sometimes in communities with no history of flooding. How does a heating planet contribute to more flooding, and


Experiential Learning through Immersive Research in Iceland

One thing that the University of Georgia’s Institute for Disaster Management (IDM) stresses is giving students the opportunity to learn by doing. For two weeks this past May and June,


May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Since 1949, May has been observed as Mental Health Awareness Month in the United States. During this month, we amplify the importance of reducing stigma and advocate for policies to