The Urban Travel Experience is an opportunity for a small group of returning students to deepen their knowledge of the state and continue their leadership development after their new student year. This 2-day travel experience was initiated in 2022-2023. This optional trip was designed to complement the Burt Jones Rural Community Experience by providing students with experiences in Alabama’s cities. As with other travel experiences, students interact with state and local leaders, explore regional commonalities and differences, place national issues into local context, and learn about the culture of communities to which they may have had little or no prior exposure. These travel experiences have taken the institute’s students to almost every corner of the state, providing them with the breadth of experiential knowledge necessary to take action for a better Alabama.

Recent Urban Travel Locations

  • Huntsville 2023 – Defense, Education, Innovation, Arts and Entertainment, and Community Care Services (travel experience itinerary)
  • Mobile 2022 – Mental Healthcare, Museums, Transportation and Infrastructure, Environmental Conservation, African American History


This program is generously funded by an endowment provided by supporters of the Blackburn Institute in the name of Burt Jones, a contemporary of Dr. Blackburn’s and director of Palmer Hall during James Hood’s time as one of the first African American students on campus.