by Katie Woodouse
Most Macalester organizations only operate within Macalester grounds. Not Outing Club. In fact, the group defines itself by leaving campus.
“I think the nature of going on overnight trips is just pretty different from other clubs,” explained Lucia Hunt ’18, a leader of Outing Club this year. “[Outing Club] can make those available to people even if people don’t think they exist.”
Outing Club is one of Macalester’s more recognizable student organizations. Known for organizing multiple off-campus – and often out-of-state – outdoor trips for students each year, Outing Club prides itself in providing resources for Macalester students of all backgrounds to experience and learn about the outdoors.
Martin Moore ’18, another Outing Club leader said, “That’s really what the Outing Club is about: accessibility for people who maybe haven’t had the opportunity to go camping before, to get them outside as easily as possible, and to make it convenient for them.”
Emily Hodel ’18, one of the org’s Chairs, who also values the close relationships they have formed on trips, described an unparalleled level of connection with people she had met through the organization. “You really quickly dive past that surface level interaction because when you’re on a backpacking or camping trip, you’re putting a lot of trust in those people. It’s an interesting way to totally immerse yourself in getting to know the people around you.”
This year, Outing Club is transforming its traditional leadership structure. Rather than operating under the leadership of a single five to 10 member board, Outing Club reorganized into nine separate committees, comprised of 25 members total. “Instead of the Chair knowing everything, and then it being their responsibility to communicate everything to new members, now we have people on committees that are a part of every class.”
Outing Club’s leaders, though uncertain how the new system will manifest practically, are excited to initiate the change. “I feel like we’re at a really exciting time in the club’s history. A lot of things are being redefined and there’s a lot of opportunity to make the club what you want,” Moore said.
Leaders hope that there will be more opportunities for people to involve themselves with the club. “If you’re interested [in joining], we’d love to have you. If you have a cool idea, we’d love, love, love to hear it and have you implement it in some way,” Moore said.
Ultimately, Outing Club’s leaders hope to share the passion, connection and excitement they’ve experienced in outdoor settings with as many students as possible. “When you’re outside with people, I personally just think it’s so different from being indoors in a classroom,” explained Hunt. “You’re learning from each other in different ways; people are telling stories; you’re making inside jokes about random things… it’s an opportunity to connect with people in a really unique, different way than being on campus. I think that’s pretty special.”