Learning around the campfire

Liz Torres-Chesney, Laura Rupprecht and Renee Jeffrey trying garlic mustard—Yum!

Students in the UIC College of Applied Health Sciences have taken “learning outside the classroom” to a new level.

Nine members of the Student Nutrition Association left civilization behind at the end of spring semester for a weekend in the wild—identifying edible plants, building animal traps and purifying their own water at Illinois’ Apple River Canyon State Park.

“How many nutrition students can say they know how to survive in the wilderness in an emergency situation?” says Renee Jeffrey, group president.

“I think it will make us stand out when we’re applying for internships.”

This was a first-of-its-kind educational outing for the club. Led by professional wilderness guides, the undergrads practiced not only the skills of survival, but also those of team-building and personal reflection.

“The best part,” says Jeffrey, “was being out in the country, learning something new and building stronger friendships around the campfire.”