stories written and photos compiled by Hannah Redder
Ellen Voigt: Greece and England, Europe
Ellen Voigt was one of 18 freshmen that basked in Greece’s seaside warmth and rich history. The course, “Tracing the Roots of Western Civilization” led by O’Hara and Wentzel took Voigt and her classmates to major historical sites that majorly influenced western culture. They ate what Voigt called the best orages she’s ever tasted and spent the last lodging in a convent with Greek nuns.
Their final stop was London, where they viewed original sculptures from the Parthenon in a museum.
Voigt, a self-proclaimed “nerd for art and history,” said Greece was the perfect spot to combine these interests with her liberal arts education. She said that although she knew Greece had a role in shaping modern society, visiting the places helped her make a more powerful connection between the two.
“That is what liberal arts is about: being a well-rounded individual that can see a place, or anything, in many different ways in an effort to fully understand it,” Voigt said.
Alexis Vana: New York City, New York
Two things drew junior Alexis Vana to her spring break trip: travel and art. Entitled “Art History Viewing Laboratory,” the course was led by Lindsay Twa and took the group of students across the country to New York City. Vana said she took Twa’s art history class and saw the spring break trip as an opportunity to foster her interest in early to mid-twentieth century art, as well as travel somewhere new. The students spent most of their time in major art museums, including the Met and the Museum of Modern Art. Since the class was an extension of art history, this allowed them to view firsthand some of the art they’d discussed.
“Seeing art in person versus in a textbook—there really is no comparison,” Vana said.
Although this didn’t leave much time in their schedules, Vana said the group managed to catch a few Broadway shows and visit some of New York’s must-sees, like the Statue of Liberty and Central Park.
“New York City is huge, and there’s a lot to tackle in just a week,” Vana said.
Elliot Blue: Holden Village, Washington
Sophomore Elliot Blue and a group from the chapel traveled by train and ferry to spend spring break in Holden Village. Tucked deep in the Cascade Mountains of Washington and accessible only by water, this mining-town-turned-retreat’s claim to fame is the Holden Evening Prayer, a common Lutheran practice.
Mornings usually involved service projects like shoveling snow so supplies could be reached in outbuildings. Later in the day the group snow-shoed or cross-country skied, and the evenings included worship with the Holden community. This community, Blue said, is unique in its diversity despite its isolation. Blue also noticed the way people lived self-sustaining lives, eating very little meat and limiting their use of technology. Both the food and remoteness were hard to adjust to, Blue said, and the experience was a lesson in adapting to cultures other than his own.
“It’s actually a great way to live,” Blue said. “You’ve really just got to open yourself up and be willing to try something different.”
Noah Fisher: Scotland, United Kingdom
As an English major, freshman Noah Fisher wanted to learn about Scottish literature where it was actually written. Led by Sandra Looney, the course he attended was called “Scotland’s Stories and Scenes.” Although the students mainly read and discussed Sir Walter Scott’s works, Fisher said they also read uniquely Scottish pieces like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and The Crofter and the Laird.
“I enjoyed learning more about them and where they got their inspiration from the country they call home,” Fisher said.
Fisher has also worked as a travel photographer, and he could not resist the Scottish countryside. While working their way through the books, he and his nine classmates traveled through the Scottish highlands to famed sites like Inverness and the Isle of Skye. He spent most of his free time snapping pictures.
“It was so beautiful there, and words cannot do it justice,” Fisher said.