The ACU Honors College took 13 students and two faculty members to Big Bend National Park over Fall Break as part of a Wilderness colloquium that is offered through the honors department.
This was the second time that the trip to Santa Elena Canyon has been offered, with the first happening in 2013, and Dr. Cliff Barbarick, who went on the trip along with Dr. Andy Little, said that he predicted the trip would be a success, as it was in 2013, and it turned out exactly as he had planned.
“I expected great things out of our students,” Barbarick said. “We had a great experience two years ago, and these are honors students, they work hard and they’re conscientious students, and they’re going to give their best effort, and they came through in all those ways that we expected. I was definitely pleased. The students responded well and had a great time.”
Catlin Young, sophomore communications major with a track in non-profit management, has past experience in nature and the wilderness and said the diversity of students in the honors college made the colloquium as special as it was.
“I grew up camping and I love it and I’ve always wanted to go to Big Bend, so I think [this colloquium] is a great plan,” Young said. “The best part about it, I thought, was the mixture of people we had on the trip. I think it was a blessing how God put it together, honestly because it was really cool to be able to see the different perspectives from everyone.”
Daniel Vargas, sophomore accounting major, said the trip was as spiritual to him as it was intellectual.
“This was my first legitimate time camping and I think it really gets you in touch with yourself and with God,” Vargas said. “I tend to see God in nature, so when you see all these beautiful landscapes and things like that, it makes me feel like the creator is present.”
Most students wouldn’t want to go off on their Fall Break on a school field trip for a class, which Barbarick said is exactly why ACU students are special and why they will continue to offer colloquia similar to this one.
“I just think that this kind of experience and the honors colloquia in general are good examples of what makes ACU special, that students can go and do this on a weekend,” Barbarick said. “Have fun, but also realize that it’s even more fun when you get to engage your mind and think about it, because that only enriches the experience. My hope is that they kind of catch taste of that on a weekend like this and that creates habits that will stick with them their whole lives.”