This year, the Flying Jayhawks travel program is adding an educational twist to its trip schedule for Kansas University alumni.
The program, sponsored by the KU Alumni Association, will offer a week-long voyage in March to Mexico with John Hoopes, a KU professor of anthropology, to study anthropological treasures in places such as Mexico City, Teotihaucan and Palenque.
"It's not often that we invite an expert to come along, but it's nice when we can," said Donna Neuner, director of membership services at the alumni association. "The people on the trip will learn about anthropology while traveling."
IN ADDITION to the trip to Mexico, the program also is offering 15 other voyages that range in price from $1,200 to $5,000. The program works with four travel agencies to come up with the land, sea and air packages, Neuner said.
"They vary from the adventurous to the more sedate. There's the less expensive to the more expensive. There's something for everyone," she said.
Other destinations for the coming year include China, Canada, Southeast Asia, Alaska and a golfing expedition to the colonial South of the United States.
The domestic trips have been part of the Flying Jayhawks' program for three years and were added after some alumni expressed an interest in traveling within the United States, Neuner said.
Another trend that Neuner noted was the interest in the Eastern European countries where political tensions have eased. The program is sponsoring a trip this year to the Elbe River in Germany, and for the fifth consecutive year, to the Soviet Union.
"WE'RE ALWAYS open to suggestions," she said. "We plan trips according to the political state of affairs and the economy in the world."
This is the first year since the student uprising in Tiananmen Square that the program has offered a trip to China.
The Jayhawk groups making a trip generally number from 50 to 100 alumni, and they usually travel with an alumni association from another university.
Neuner pointed out that although the alumni on a trip don't recognize everyone else from KU right away, "it doesn't take them long to find that they have people and places in common."
"Most of our travelers come back year after year," she said.
During the fall football season, Neuner organizes a cocktail party and reunion for the alumni who took a trip with the Flying Jayhawks during the previous year. The reunion, she said, gives the alumni to reminisce about past trips and plan for their next Jayhawk voyage.