35 Kalamazoo College students braved the rain this past Saturday to take an architecture-focused trip to Chicago. Participants got the chance to explore the Windy City through an architectural river cruise, a trip to the Art Institute of Chicago, a walking tour of famous skyscrapers, and a lecture about influential women in the city’s history. The popular trip reached capacity within 12 hours of its announcement—an impressive feat for an event on a busy end-of-quarter weekend.
“I thought that it was fun, interesting, and well-organized,” Savannah Kinchen ‘18 said of the trip. “It was cool to get off campus and learn in a more experiential way, especially in a city like Chicago that is so close to our campus.”
The Student Funding Board (SFB) covered costs for all participants, including those for travel, food, and tickets. Whereas previously only registered student organizations could apply through SFB, a new policy now allows individual students to apply for funding.
For organizer Amanda Johnson ‘17, making the trip completely free for students was fundamental. “I wanted to organize this trip in a way that was accessible to anyone who was interested, and available to the student body at large,” she said. “A lot of times, these experiences are only available to people studying these topics, but I think that it is a fun experience for anyone!”
Johnson recognized a campus interest in the fields of architecture and urban design while taking Christine Hahn’s Architecture, Urbanism, and Identity course this spring. The class explores the history of architecture and city planning in the United States. In addition to traditional lectures and discussions, students participate in walking tours and field trips to important Kalamazoo buildings and spaces.
“Taking [the class] this quarter inspired me to organize this trip,” Johnson said. “I wanted to allow myself and others to learn more about architecture and urban design in the context of Chicago.” Though the trip was not officially affiliated with the class, several Architecture, Urbanism, and Identity students took advantage of this opportunity to see the subjects of their classroom discussions in real life.