The Brown Outing Club traveled to New Hampshire for a hike at Mt. Monadnock on Saturday, marking the end of its forced hiatus on in-person trips since the beginning of the pandemic. The hike that BOC presidents Anna Swanson ’22 and Cal Stellato ’23 led was held annually or semi-annually prior to the pandemic.
“It was a gorgeous day and was just really great to get so many people outside and see how excited they were to be there,” Swanson said.
BOC’s guiding principles are fun, accessibility, community, experience and service, according to the club’s website. They aim to make the outdoors accessible and equitable and give people the opportunity to connect with each other.
“I’ve always loved the outdoors, so it feels really good to help share my love with others and help them get outside,” Stellato said. “This was the first time I could do that this semester, and hopefully we’ll be doing that every week for the rest of the year, so I can’t wait.”
Because the Student Activities Office did not allow any in-person events until this semester, the club offered alternative programming in line with its mission throughout the pandemic, planning a scavenger hunt and sending club members information about opportunities for outings in Providence.
“I had a meeting with SAO every other week just to check in and see if we could do activities, and it was just always a no,” Stellato said.
Though the pandemic halted many of BOC’s activities, Olivia McClain ’22.5, who is co-president alongside Swanson and Stellato, said the club is still committed to its mission.
BOC is normally “such an in-person, non-virtual experience,” McClain said. She noted that navigating programming during the pandemic “has made us more open and able to use technology and also helped facilitate some independence.”
The highly anticipated return to in-person events kicked off with the Fall Fair on the Main Green Nov. 5, followed by a walk and art activities at India Point Park.
“For the most part, we are going to get back to running all of the trips that we did before, so everything from day hikes to hopefully getting out some backpacking, water trips, skiing,” Swanson said.
Though the club’s weekly trips are popular among nature lovers, BOC also welcomes those with little outdoor experience.
“The best part of it is helping people who don’t have that prior outdoor experience find a love for the outdoors or even just experience it for the first time and see if they enjoy it or not,” Stellato said.
Swanson agreed. At Mt. Monadnock, she led a student on their first-ever hike.
“Just being there with them through that ... the sense of wonder they had of the beauty of the mountain and everything around us was really wonderful,” she said. “I’m so grateful that we’re able to do that again.”
McClain said that applications for next year’s leadership positions were recently sent out, and that she looks forward to welcoming new leaders. She is also excited for trips and speaker events throughout the rest of the year, which she hopes will increase engagement.
Ben Maizes ’25, who attended the hike, said his experience was “very positive” and came as a “needed way to get out of Providence.”
“I would like to continue doing events like this,” Maizes added. “I would like to leave the state again and go on another expedition.”
“I think the general vibe is that there’s a lot of folks looking to get outside and utilize the BOC,” McClain said. “There’s a limitation to how much we can do, but the more we have that on-campus interaction and help people lead their own adventures or bring in speakers, the more we can reach people, so that’s something I’m excited about.”