On a Saturday in early September, more than 60 students woke early to embark on a day of canoeing down the Buffalo River in Waynesboro.
Kayla McKinney, assistant resident director, was involved in coordinating the canoe trip, which takes place every fall semester and is open to students living in the Quads.
The students left Union at 7 a.m. and got back about 7 p.m.
They canoed 8 miles down the Buffalo River, which included stops along the way for swimming and lunch, Mckinney said.
Mckinney said that, traditionally, the trip was held for the Women’s Quads only. Last year, at the last minute, the trip was opened up to the Men’s Quads, and 20 students, both men and women, ended up going.
This year, the trip was opened up to both the Women’s and Men’s Quads from the beginning, and more than 60 students participated, nearly triple than that of the previous year, Mckinney said.
Erin Allen, junior social work major, was excited to be part of the larger group.
“It’s good to see people interested in doing stuff with Res Life,” Allen said.
Allen appreciated the diversity within the group of students.
“It’s not roommates going together. It’s people meeting new people,” she said.
Mckinney said that this trip provided a chance for students to “get away, have fun, and meet new people,” and that the goal is to “build community among a diverse group of students and to enjoy being outside in God’s creation.”
Brianna Hill, sophomore elementary education major, and Kara Glover, sophomore Biology major, both went canoeing.
“We jammed out to Taylor Swift a little bit and possibly to Justin Beiber,” Glover said.
Hill said the group canoed 4 miles, stopped for a quick lunch, and then canoed another 4 miles, canoeing a total of 8 miles in four and a half hours.
“After we got done with those eight miles, I felt so accomplished,” Hill said.
Glover, who has been canoeing before, said the experience was still challenging.
“At one point I got irritated when my canoe wouldn’t go the right way. I still had fun, though. I wasn’t legit mad,” Glover said.
Both girls said that one of their favorite aspects of the trip was the new friendships and relationships that they built.
“I got to meet people that I’ve never met before,” Glover said.
“We built friendships, encouraged each other, and laughed the whole time,” Hill said.
Hill added that she and Glover plan to hang out with some of the new friends they made while canoeing.
The girls agreed that the trip was a great chance for some quality relaxation, despite the physical challenge.
“It was the perfect type of getaway, mentally and physically,” Glover said.
Hill and Glover agreed that one of their favorite moments was when they had gotten a little ahead of the group. During a lull between rapids, they were surrounded by nature, relaxing in the warmth of the sun.