Wabash Students Busy Over Breakby Ben Wade '17 • March 3, 2016 Share:
Whether they include visiting a Florentine chapel or studying ecosystems in the Florida Keys, immersion courses are an essential part to many Wabash students’ college experience.
The opportunities, which normally run during the spring or fall recesses, offer students and faculty a chance to see the world outside a typical classroom. The experience also offers a chance for students to bond, network, and explore in ways which they might never again be able to, with little or no personal costs. The wide variety of courses over Spring Break is no different than the past and truly demonstrates the diversity a liberal arts college can offer.
One of the traditional immersion trips during the spring break is the annual Glee Club Spring Tour, which gives the club’s singers “a chance to spread the fame of her honored name to places outside the state of Indiana,” Richard Bowen, Assistant Professor of Music and Glee Club Director, said. While Glee Club alumni of the 60s and 70s only visited nearby Ladoga for their tours, the group will be traveling to Nashville and Memphis, Tenn. for a week of concerts, tourism, and even a day in Ocean Way Recording Studios in Nashville. Bowen stressed the positives of the immersion experience, such as “the opportunity to present concerts, meet people, and the opportunity within the group to create some real close and lasting friendships.” In addition to the concerts, the group members will get to connect with regional alumni.
In addition to the Glee Club, there are two classes going abroad for the recess. Brad Carlson, BKT Assistant Professor of Biology, is taking his BIO 313: Advanced Ecology course to Florida. Carlson will take his students to the Archbold Biological Station, the Everglades National Park, and the coral reefs of the Florida Keys.
“The sites have been selected because they present a broad range of habitat types, are reasonably accessible, and have each been impacted by invasive species,” Carlson said. To be fully immersed in the ecosystems and invasive species they are studying, the students will get to hike, canoe, and snorkel through various areas to get as much of a ‘hands-on’ experience as possible. Carlson said that some of the primary goals of the trip are “to expose students to unfamiliar and diverse ecosystems and organisms...to expose students to the activities or biologists managing and researching ecosystems… and to help students develop their ability to think like scientists and conduct fieldwork.”
The other class venturing abroad is PSC 335: History of Political Thought, taught by Alexandra Hoerl, Assistant Professor of Political Science. Their trip to Florence and Siena, Italy will allow students to approach the study of political theory from an interesting angle - through the lense of art and architecture.
“It’s so important to take students to Italy for this class because of how highly aesthetic this culture was, how much got signaled about politics and power, and how much got signaled about what the city valued through its building projects.”
Some of the important sites in the cities include the Duomo (cathedral) and Piazza de Campo in Siena and the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence. Hoerl took students to Italy four years ago, and remarked that students were skeptical of some claims made in class, “and it wasn’t until they immersed themselves in that type of space that they were able to see what I was talking about.” It is Hoerl’s hope that students “take some of what they’ve learned and [use] it to think about how public space functions in such a different way in the United States.” However, not all of the spring immersion experiences are going abroad. The Center for Innovation, Business, and Entrepreneurship (CIBE) is holding two courses for students on campus during the break: Fullbridge@Wabash and the Marketing Immersion Program. Although Roland Morin, Director of the CIBE, created both programs, this marks the first year that Jeff Drury, Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and Department Chair, will be leading the Marketing Immersion Program.
“The program is a week-long deep dive into the world of marketing; it’s a chance for students to get their feet wet in that world,” Drury said. Over the course of the week, students will gain an understanding of basic marketing concepts, in addition to working hands-on with a local non-profit organization to address a marketing or advertising need.”
Drury anticipates the opportunity will have benefits for any students, not just those going into marketing. “What I hope students can take away from it is the ability to think more critically about the messages that they receive. And whatever field you go into, communication is an important element...and also networking,” Drury said.
While there are noticeably fewer trips during spring break, the immersion courses that are taking place will undoubtedly provide memories and experience to students. As students find out during these courses, the classroom is only half of the story; it is another thing entirely to go out and learn for yourself.
Other smaller groups make special excursions as well. Biology Professor Eric Wetzel will continue working in Peru as part of his Global Health Initiative. He will be traveling with three alumni-physicians (Sam Milligan '68, Dennis Stokes '69, and Tim Hodges '83), along with one student (freshman Matt Hodges, Tim's son). The group will be working in the Lima shantytowns on health clinics and health education along with folks from Buckner International and the GHI-Peru team.
Little Giants Sports teams will be traveling to compete during the week-long break. The Baseball team heads to Florida for 6 games in the Fort Myers area. Wabash golfers are off to Mesa, Arizona for six days of golf and a Wednesday match against Mesa Community College. The Little Giants’ Lacrosse team travels to Dallas, Texas, for a week of practice and matches against Dallas University and Oglethorpe. The tennis teams will be off to Lake Arrowhead, California, for a busy week of play against the University of Redlands, Christopher Newport University, Cal Tech University, Carnegie Mellon, and George Fox University.
Wabash’s Indoor Track and Field team will have members competing at the NCAA Indoor Championships at Kenyon College. Six Little Giant wrestlers will compete in the NCAA DIII National Championship meet at the U.S. Cellular Center at Cedar Rapids, Iowa.