Nature Walk 2023

Fall Nature Walk

At Arrupe, it's about more than what classes students take. It's the community support, opportunities for leadership development, personal experiences, and time spent with friends. Student support is a hallmark of Arrupe's education model, and there are numerous resources and activities available for student success—both in and out of the classroom.

The Student Government of Arrupe College, Student Organizations, and the Office of Student Services (OSS) help build and foster community by planning social, spiritual, and cultural programs to enhance the student experience.

“As a second-year student at Arrupe, I am grateful as to how many resources there are available to students that gives them the opportunity to take advantage of these amazing experiences,” Perla Bojorquez shared. “The staff and professors here are extremely helpful and caring towards students and go beyond and above. I’m grateful for being part of the Arrupe community where I feel more at home.”

One of the programs offered by Student Services is "To Arrupe and Beyond (TAB)." The mission of TAB is to offer experiences for Arrupe students to explore Chicago's cultural, recreational, entertainment, and community spaces while building community, heightening creativity, and encouraging lifelong learning.

This fall, OSS collaborated with science faculty on a Fall Nature Walk through the beauty of the LaBagh Woods, one of the largest forest preserves within the city limits of Chicago. LaBagh Woods is host to diverse natural areas, including wooded landscapes, wetlands, savannas and sedge meadows, and is known for exceptional birding opportunities. Aided by a local nature guide, a group of 24 students, staff, and faculty explored the preserve and learned the basics of birding, identifying indigenous plants, and the history of the woods itself.

The idea of the nature walk was hatched when Aubrey Sirman, PhD had a student in one of her environmental science classes comment that they wanted to go hiking but had never been and they were nervous to try it out by themselves. "I wanted to help provide a comfortable and informative space for students to experience nature, explore a new environment, and be curious! Spending time outside in nature can give us all a greater appreciation for these spaces and the plants and animals that rely on them," said Sirman.

Arrupe professor Giancarlo Tarantino, PhD participated in the nature walk and shared this reflection about his experience. “Spending time with students outside of the classroom helps to humanize us all a little more – we’re not just “students” or “professors” or “staff members.” We’re fellow hikers having fun together while learning to spot different types of birds or trees, or we’re learning more about one another while walking through the woods,” Tarantino said. “I really appreciate the opportunity to share those kinds of experiences with everyone at Arrupe College.”

Up next, TAB will be partnering with Black Men for Success (BMS) to bring students to Chicago's theatre district to see Hamiliton in early December, and other winter fun, such as a day trip to ice skate in the parks.

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