By Alexander Lingle
This article was originally published in Issue 5, Fiftieth Year of The Minstrel (November 5, 2015). Click here to view the entire issue.
The Office of Student Engagement and Leadership offers various off-campus trips and activities for students at discounted rates every year. Many of these trips give opportunities to explore the Lehigh Valley area or other surrounding locales. These trips are designed to appeal to both a college student’s interests and budget.
One recent activity was this year’s Mystery Trip on Oct. 17. On a Mystery Trip, students are challenged to wake up before sunrise and board a bus to an unknown destination. This year, about 50 students were taken to Colonial Williamsburg in Williamsburg, Va.
“We’ve done a lot of major cities,” Tracy Gallagher, assistant director of student engagement and leadership, said. “We’ve done Boston, we’ve done Baltimore; we went to Pittsburgh, we went to Niagara Falls. We were kind of running out of major cities to go to, so we had to think outside the box.”
Students paid $15 for the trip for bus fare and a ticket valued at $18 that included admission to exhibition buildings, colonial trade shops and colonial homes, as well as the Governor’s Palace and the Museums (Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum, Dewitt Wallace Museum and Bassett Hall.)
“They left at three in the morning and got there about nine, and they had the whole day to explore and check out the stuff to do,” Gallagher said. Gallagher said the trips are self-guided, so the students can go to whatever attractions they want.
“The feedback that the students gave me was that they all had a great time; we had beautiful weather, so that helps a lot.”
Another recent trip was much closer to campus. Grim’s Greenhouse in Breinigsville, Pa., hosts an annual fall festival that includes access to a pumpkin patch, corn maze, hay ride, an apple cannon, an orchard and other fun fall themed activities. Gallagher approximated that students had three hours to fill with all the various activities available.
The trip was deeply discounted: The cost for a student to go was $5, while the price the school paid for access was about $17 per student.
“There’s so much to do in the Lehigh Valley. I’ve lived here my whole life and I’m still discovering new towns and little things that go on,” Gallagher said. “You don’t need to go far to find something interesting and unique that you never knew existed.
“The students are here all week… so I think it’s nice for them to get off campus and see something new.”