Goliard Scholar:  1999

Ryan Steger

When Ryan Steger, a Will Rice junior, steps to the water's edge of the Yangtze River he will trace a 100-year-old journey that will take him from the mouth of China's great river to Chonquing on the Tibetan plateau.

Steger, the 1999 recipient of the Goliard Travel Scholarship, will spend the summer following the Yangtze River and the route of Edgar Geil, who 100 years ago traveled on the back of the Yangtze from Shanghai, through the treacherous Three Gorges to Chonquing located far in the rugged interior of China. Geil published a book about his travels called "A Yankee on the Yangtze."

"As I travel the length of the river I hope to discover how its presence has shaped the lives and cultures of the people that live along the Yangtze basin," Steger said in his proposal. "Over the course of my trip I plan to immerse myself in the life of the river, gain an understanding of forces that shape its course, both physical and social, and perhaps even learn something about myself in the process."

One area of interest to Steger is the Three Gorges dam. Construction on the dam began in 1994 amid great controversy. The dam is located near the city of Sandouping. Once completed, the dam is expected to generate about one-tenth of China's electricity. Unfortunately, the dam will lead to flooding in the Three Gorges area. The Chinese government is trying to relocate temples and archeological sites.

During the trip, Steger will compare what he sees with the writings of Geil.

The Goliard is a summer travel scholarship with a value of $1,000 plus the cost of an airline ticket. All full-time Rice students, including graduating seniors, are eligible for the scholarship. The award is funded by the Board of Governors of the Goliard Scholarship Fund, members of Sid Richardson College and the class of 1983.


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