The Kalamazoo Outing Club (KOC) is a student organization overseen by the Kalamazoo College Outdoor Program department. The KOC provides K students the opportunity to experience the outdoors in a supportive and enriching environment no matter their skill level or ability. At the same time, they take the K-Plan to the outdoors by providing an important aspect of our liberal arts education, hands-on experiential education.
KOC strives to provide experiential learning about the environment, encourage personal and group growth and show students life and the appeal of areas off K’s campus.
“Our goal is to have a proactive educational role in environmental stewardship, stimulate interest in outdoor activities and curiosity of the natural wilderness and to have students try new things and meet new people,” says KOC’s treasurer Yasi Shaker ‘20.
The KOC offers trips throughout the school year incorporating a variety of activities such as backpacking, rock climbing, and canoeing. Longer trips occur during summer and winter breaks to places such as Kentucky’s Red River Gorge, Joshua Tree National Park, California and Red Rock, Nevada.
“We already had a trip to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park, Grand Ledge Climbing, Mountain Biking near Kalamazoo, Arboretum transportation. We are planning on another trip to Kayak on the Chicago River potentially Sunday of 8th week. Also another trip to Grand Ledge for climbing potentially 10th weekend,” said Shaker.
The KOC is planning trips for the rest of the school year to provide a getaway from the stress classes can cause. Many students feel the KOC has given them the opportunities to see new landmarks and parts of the country they may never have got the chance to before, such as the most recent trip to Sleeping Bear Dunes.
The trip to Sleeping Bear Dunes was an amazing experience.
“I wanted to go on the trip because even though I am from Michigan, I have never been and the opportunity presented itself. I was able to camp for the first time and being with K students I have never met before allowed me to open up and I feel amplified my experience over the weekend. I learned so many wilderness exploration tips and we all left the Dunes closer and more environmentally knowledgeable,” said Noah Bramlage ‘17.
“The trip to Sleeping Bear Dunes was an amazing experience. It was so peaceful and relaxing to spend time around warm-hearted people in the beach and go on hiking in a place surrounded by the tall trees. I get to meet new people and refresh for 7th week!” said Shaker.
The KOC is always seeking new faces to depart on trips of a lifetime with other students who yearn to cover the many magnificent explorable parts of the country.