By Olivia Montes
This spring semester, the new Washington College transportation program WAC DayTrippers seeks to grant students the opportunity to explore places beyond campus.
According to a March 29 email sent by the Office of Student Affairs, the DayTrippers program strives to offer students “free weekend trips” to Middletown, De., New Carrollton Station in Washington, D.C., and “other regional locations for future trips.”
The program was designed to provide “students with an opportunity to get out of Chestertown for the day,” while supplying a reliable mode of transportation for those on campus, including international students and students without their own cars, according to Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Sarah Feyerherm.
According to Assistant Dean for Student Achievement and Retention Tricia Biles, previous attempts to begin similar programs were halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, because Student Affairs received feedback from students saying that they want opportunities to get off campus “[from] regular trips to get necessities to cultural trips in the city,” Biles and Director of Student Engagement Antoine Jordan ’12 knew the timing was right.
“We’re living in a rural setting, and sometimes students don’t necessarily have any sort of mode of transportation to get off campus…We saw this as an easy way to meet an important need for students on campus,” Jordan said. “[While] we have all the resources that you need to survive right here in town, it’s nice to be able to get away and go somewhere different and explore.”
According to Biles, while DayTrippers will continue to “provide regular, reliable trips that students can sign up for and go certain places” throughout 2022 spring semester, it is still “evolving.”
Both she and Jordan hope to host specialty trips to different locations, including Longwood Gardens in Chester County, Pa.; Betterton Beach in Betterton, Md.; Eastern Neck Island National Wildlife Refuge; and Turner’s Creek in Kent County.
“[Several] students have always expressed that they want to get off campus, and this is a way for them to do that,” SGA Secretary of Student Life junior Kamden Richardson said. “I think there’s huge potential here, but in order for that…to get there, it has to grow, and students have to be interested.”
As the spring semester continues, and the program continues to develop, both Biles and Jordan said they hope that these trips will not only allow students to get the chance to explore places outside the College, but also help them forge newfound connections to last beyond four years on campus.
“Even though we’re a small campus, the connections that you can build with people that you might not normally cross paths with really can change and enhance your entire vision and experience of what you’re having here at the College, and I think [the program] is another vehicle to make that happen,” Jordan said.
“We’re talking a lot about retention, [and] what is it that helps a student feel that this is a great place to be,” Biles said. “I think that this [program] opens up just a treasure trove of opportunity…beyond our immediate location…and I’m hoping that it helps people really connect with our region, not just our town.”
According to the March 29 email, spots on future weekend program trips are limited and are on a first-come, first-serve basis. All trips depart from the Casey Academic Center circle.
To make a reservation, students must email the Office of Student Affairs at email@example.com with the subject line “WAC DayTrippers Reservation.” The body of the email should include a student’s name, ID number, and which trip they’d like to reserve a seat for.