Student group reaches long-term goal, boosts opportunities
THE SANTA CLARA
November 7, 2013
After several years of hiking, backpacking and climbing, Santa Clara’s outdoor nature collective, Into the Wild, has finally reached the summit of on-campus organizations.
Last week, the university officially designated the four-year-old club as Santa Clara’s ninth Chartered Student Organization.
Originally founded in 2009 by student Andrew Noonan, Into the Wild has strived to provide Santa Clara students with various opportunities to leave behind the books and dormitories in order to explore the beauty that California’s wilderness has to offer. Last quarter, over 500 unique participants took part in the adventures, which range from kayaking to camping to surfing to rock climbing and more.
Leading the nature journeys these days are junior Dalan Angelo and senior Carson Lindsay, both of whom have helped carry out Noonan’s plan of seeking CSO status for Into the Wild.
It’s safe to say that the group is in good hands with the experience that Angelo and Lindsay bring to the table.
“I’ve skied since I was a year and half old,” said Lindsay, vice president of the organization and native of Truckee, Calif. “My parents also met as whitewater rafting guides so I’ve grown up on the river, doing things on the river.”
Angelo, now president of Into the Wild, joined early last year when he signed up for one of the group’s trips to the Grand Canyon.
“Something about the feeling of having everything you need packed on your back and that’s it, it was just really satisfying,” said Angelo. “I was hooked from there.”
Angelo had also experienced the outdoors earlier in his life as a Boy Scout for eight years, but came to dislike the strict regulations of the program and quit. When he joined Into the Wild, Angelo rediscovered a passion that had been lying dormant within him.
“My favorite part of the whole organization was just being able to hang out with people outside of the context of buildings and movies and video games,” said Angelo.
“My favorite part of getting outdoors is the fact that I could run away from all the things that people expect of us and all the requirements — especially my cell phone. I hate my cell phone.”
One of the reasons Noonan, Lindsay and Angelo sought CSO status for Into the Wild was because Santa Clara did not have an official outdoor program that received funding from the university.
Over the past few years, Noonan had drafted a comprehensive proposal detailing how Into the Wild was logistically and financially prepared to become a CSO.
When Noonan handed the reigns of the organization to Angelo and Lindsay, the chartering process became a constant back-and-forth with the university.
Angelo and Lindsay would tinker with the proposal after meetings with the Vice Provost of Student Life Jeanne Rosenberger, who continued to offer feedback until all the loose ends were tied up and Into the Wild became chartered.
“So many other universities all over California have fantastic outdoor programs,” said Lindsay. “They have a space on campus where you can go and rent gear, you can get information, you can go on trips … Obviously, Santa Clara didn’t have anything like that.”
One of the logistical hurdles that Into the Wild had to scale before becoming chartered was the risk assessment of various trips.
“By making us a CSO, the university is taking on a significant liability and there’s an expectation that we make sure that everything we can do, we are doing, to make sure that (participants) are safe,” said Angelo.
In order to meet safety goals, there is a three-pronged bureaucracy made up of the director of planning, the vice president and the director of execution who organizes each trip.
For longer backpacking trips, this leadership team must ensure that a Santa Clara Emergency Medical Services representative accompanies the group.
Into the Wild’s overall leadership team is comprised of about 20 trained individuals.
The group was recently granted access to their new office in the basement of the Benson Memorial Center, a validating aspect of becoming Santa Clara’s newest CSO. Angelo and Lindsay spent the weekend drawing up the layout of Into the Wild’s new headquarters.
“I think we’ve been really fortunate in that we bring together a pretty diverse group of students to do these trips,” said Angelo. “And what’s really cool is when you’re hanging out outdoors, when you’re doing anything that you’re really passionate about, there’s nothing that can divide you or separate you. It gives you an opportunity to see a whole other side to people and that I love.”
Contact Nick Ostiller at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 554-4849.
Correction: November 7, 2013
Andrew Noonan was misrepresented as founder of Into the Wild. Sachit Egan founded the club.