Wanderlust trips return during pandemic to give students safe local travel opportunities

At Hastings, all students are given the opportunity to participate in international or domestic exploratory travel courses. As students may need more access or inspiration to travel locally, Wanderlust is an activity for anyone interested in fun trips closer to campus. 

Sponsored by the office of student engagement, Wanderlust is a day trip program offered to students at various times throughout the school year. To make trips more interesting, the destinations are not revealed until students get on the bus and are ready to leave. While students may leave at any time, the hidden destinations are intended to make even small trips more adventurous.

“The goal of Wanderlust is to provide students with an opportunity to travel and explore local destinations, to meet new people and get away for a day. And sometimes it’s nice to not plan or worry and just go somewhere,” said Susan Ferrone of the student engagement team.

The Wanderlust trips were started approximately two years ago by Dean of Student Engagement Lisa Smith, but they had to be halted due to the global pandemic. As social distancing restrictions are being lifted and people may feel more comfortable traveling, even locally, Wanderlust has started back up this block to give students safe and socially distanced opportunities that are still fun. 

“Traveling to places even though they’re local could present a risk, so this week’s trip is the first one in probably a year,” Ferrone said. 

The main purpose of the trips remains, but the goal to help students connect and get off campus is even more important due to the effects of pandemic-related isolation. As the focus of the trips are not academic and separate from all experiential travel courses, they are heavily influenced by the interactions students will get out of them.

“Psychologically we’ve been very limited, restricted and confined so hopefully even next year students will start to take advantage of this and other opportunities offered by the college. We hope this will offer a way to reconnect not just with each other but our little part of the world,” Ferrone said. 

As the program continues and new destinations are chosen, students may offer their own suggestions on the sign-up forms to help trips cater to general student interests. 

“There has been student input at points, but we also don’t want to put any burden of planning on students at all. The fun thing is that they just come. 

Participation in Wanderlust trips, such as the cost of admission to venues, is free of charge to interested students.