Buzz On Campus: OUTReach LnL on National Coming Out Day

By Trisha Chakraborty and Disha Malik, Class of 2018

By Trisha Chakraborty and Disha Malik, Class of 2018

“Coming out is not a moment. It’s a process...”

That line, said by the first speaker during Oct 11th’s Booth OUTreach Lunch and Learn, was a reminder that it’s a journey, and one that people shouldn’t have to make alone. Over 30 Boothies gathered to tell stories and hear stories, during a Booth Stories style lunch.

Trisha Chakraborty, Co-Chair of Student Engagement for OUTreach, noted the intent of National Coming Out Day. "While certainly important, the goal of this event was not simply for LGBT students to celebrate being out. Equally important is celebrating our allies and conveying how critical their support, be them friends, family, colleagues, or complete strangers, is to the coming out process. We literally can't go through this process alone."

As someone who identifies as an Ally, this Lunch and Learn was an event I didn’t want to miss. While I can only empathize with those who struggled coming out, I can recognize that even at the best of times, it's hard to love yourself and even harder to show who you are to the rest of the world.

Five speakers told their stories of coming out while a sixth told his story of why he was an Ally. And as the six speakers talked, there were moments when they related the humor they found in their journey (...my father just said, “I really hope [your boyfriend's] not vegan because there is only so much I can handle”...) and powerful moments of heartbreak that turned my paper of notes into a tear-stained, barely legible mess.

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While I believe each story truly belongs to the speakers, I want to take this opportunity to touch on the themes that that are important for us as members who identify as LGBTQ or as Allies: Community, Courage and Love.

When it came to the idea of Community, the speakers talked first of fragmented communities, of building two worlds - one where they could be themselves and one where they found themselves hiding a part of who they are. They also talked about struggling to reconcile their multi-faceted identity in these communities with the fear that others may want to define them only by the fact that they identified as LGBTQ. But they also talked about the communities that supported them, people that made them feel like they belonged, and how instrumental that community truly was.

Which took us to the idea of Courage. It took immense courage for the speakers to share their stories not just in front of us but in front of so many people through their lives. They had the courage to conquer the fears - both real and those they built up in their heads - to stop, as one speaker said, “ducking, diving and dodging questions” and say the words “I have something to tell you.” But what was also moving was the courage the Ally speaker spoke of. It takes courage to speak up in defense of what you believe especially when you defend your thoughts to people who may need to have those difficult conversations to rebuild their value systems or at least to respect yours.

But at the very end of it, each story spoke of Love. The difficult process of allowing people to love you and accepting love but also how important the love is to allow people to be their true selves.

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I started with the phrase that one of the speakers said - coming out is not a moment. It’s a process - and I want to end with a reminder that this process can be a lifetime of choices. For every person that identifies themselves as gay, they make that choice to come out in each new encounter and choose to tell each person they meet. So we must remember that we all play a role, whether by listening to stories, telling stories ourselves, and at times, standing up for those who need us to.

National Coming Out Day was first celebrated in 1988, when tens of thousands of LGBTQ people and their allies converged on Washington for the first National March for Lesbian and Gay Rights. The event, routinely held October 11, is now marked with many different celebrations nationwide, including rallies and parades.

RW Thailand: Party THAIme

By Ashley Edwards, Class of 2019

By Ashley Edwards, Class of 2019

On August 18th, 2017, 14 new Booth students approached O’Hare with a bit of nerves and excitement as we were about to embark on our first formal Chicago Booth event, a Random Walk to Thailand.

The journey began alongside two other random walks, Indonesia and Vietnam, who accompanied us on the first leg of our trip to Hong Kong. Right away, we were able to make not only new friends from our trip, but meet other Boothies that were headed to the same continent. All together on the airplane, we had a solid 14 hours of talking and bonding time (and in my case, most of these talks surprisingly centered on philosophy since my airplane buddy was reading Friedrich Hegel).

Group photo of RW Thailand in the midst of a great evening

Group photo of RW Thailand in the midst of a great evening

We started our journey in Bangkok, a beautiful, bustling city. We toured the Grand Palace, bowing and marveling at the Emerald Buddha statue in reverence. We walked through the city’s markets and streets, taking in the culture, smells of delicious food, language, and ambiance. We enjoyed the wonders of the city’s night life by starting with a traditional Thai dinner and some very icy local cocktails.

On the next step of our journey, we jet set off to Phuket, where we enjoyed a lovely boat ride to the gorgeous Phi Phi Islands, which are beautiful islands donned by large cliffs and mountains. We spent our first day there taking in the sights and sounds, relaxing on the white sand beaches, listening to the local boats crashing toward the pier, and enjoying the marvelous sunset from a top the island’s highest peaks post a very scenic nature hike. The RW Thailand crew finished the exploration of Phi Phi by donning their best neon apparel (on Phi Phi Don, pun intended) and exploring the various beach venues of the island, stopping along the way to appreciate Thailand’s version of an Ibiza pool party.

While sad to leave the islands we were grateful for the memories we left behind as we boarded our boat back to Phuket. In Phuket, the group relished in the night life, taking several trips to the infamous Patong Beach. We soaked up the last few days of sunlight and beach time at the Phuket resort (and of course, savored the unlimited brunch specials), and made our way back to Hong Kong.

In Hong Kong, we were able to see the city from the highest vantage point possible – a top the open ceiling venue at the Ritz Carlton where we relished our last few hours in Asia.

Random Walk Thailand was an incredible experience. Lifelong friends, two beautiful countries, and endless laughs, memories, and late nights really brought together this amazing group of Boothies. Can’t wait to apply to lead Random Walk next year with people from this great group!

RW Peru: A Toast to “Thick Thighs and Fast Friends”

By Andrew Hyman, Class of 2019

By Andrew Hyman, Class of 2019

Before dawn on August 18th, twelve new Boothies and our four fearless second-year leaders gathered in the O’Hare airport, bleary-eyed and ready for an adventure in Peru. We expected tough hikes, beautiful ancient ruins, and… unpleasant… bathroom situations. But none of us could have guessed just how crazy things would get.

Our first unexpected adventure occurred in Miami, where we had over six hours of flight delays. After the first delay, our intrepid team deplaned and traversed the Miami airport, in search of free booze and Cuban food. After enjoying some fine aged rum, empanadas, and bistec de palomilla, we got the news: another delay. We didn’t mind another excuse to head to the bar (who knows if Peru would have craft beer?), but the mood was sinking. The free pisco sours waiting for us at the hotel were starting to look unlikely.

We finally arrived in Lima with barely enough time to sleep, much less enjoy frothy beverages. A few hours later, we were off to Cusco, where we got our first real taste of the Andes: coca tea.

Fired up and ready to go, the group set out on the Inca trail, hiking up steep mountains and into verdant valleys, loving every minute of it (except for those spent in the squatty-potty). The group’s guide, Darwin – yes, named after the scientist – kept us entertained with random jokes such as, “what kind of bees produce milk” (boo-bees) and the real meaning of the song Gasolina (not suitable for publication). Just before our third night on the trail, we rounded the bend and were met with spectacular views and colossal ruins – just a flavor of what was to come the next morning.

One of the countless group photos in front of the beautiful landscapes of Peru

One of the countless group photos in front of the beautiful landscapes of Peru

The next day, we woke at 4 am after a long night of Monopoly Deal, but the pain of early hour was worth it as we watched the sunlight hit Machu Picchu. After a tour of the ruins, we were exhausted and ready to rejoin the modern world of Wi-Fi and real toilets.

The last couple of days were a whirlwind, from getting kicked out of a bar for playing Mafia too enthusiastically, to sampling a selection of piscos and fine local cervezas. The team then unwound with massages and one final night of dancing in Cuzco.

In our last hours in South America, we reflected on our trip and we knew it was all worth it just to be able to say, in the words of Cam Combs, that our trip to Peru gave us “thick thighs and fast friends.”

A big thanks to our group leaders – Emma Boston, Maura Welch, Scott Munro and Sean Breen – you guys are awesome! Thanks for making our journey to Peru so memorable.

RW Morocco: MoROCKan the Desert

By Sukriti Nayar, Class of 2019

By Sukriti Nayar, Class of 2019

Picture yourself trying to navigate winding stone passageways. Each house indistinguishable from the next, the narrow cobblestoned roads all look the same and the only new landmarks are the ornate, carved wooden doors on either side of you. The midday heat is beating down on the medina but you’re thankfully saved by the cleverly engineered shadows. You’re alone – a small panic begins to arise – but you breathe a sigh of relief.

Your group is just around the corner.

Each one of the 18 Boothies who went to Morocco this year had a similar experience at some point during the trip. Fourteen first-years with their four kind and patient group leaders explored the culture and cities of Morocco. Marketed as a Random Walk high in the “cultural” element, the trip brought together adventurous and empathetic Boothies; the RW Morocco team bonded over our shared love for crossing cultural boundaries with abandon. (Though, that did get us into trouble at one point – half the group tried the same bag of dates and all got food poisoning.)

Group poses in front of an argan tree full of goats on the way to the seaside town of Essaouira

Group poses in front of an argan tree full of goats on the way to the seaside town of Essaouira

The trip began in Casablanca, where we ate at Rick’s Café – and a pianist played “As Time Goes By” – and we then made our way to Fes, Rabat, Marrakech, Essaouira, spent a night camping in the desert, and topped our trip off with a night out in Madrid.

Some highlights of the trip included:

  1. Visiting a local tannery and watching the leather dyeing process (also, being surprised by our ridiculous tour guide who tried to convince us first that he spoke no English, then switching to a perfect Aussie accent and then trying to convince us that he was from New Jersey – none of us know the truth to this day)

  2. Driving to an argan oil cooperative in Essaouira to watch argan oil being made by hand – and making a pit-stop at a tree filled with goats

  3. Riding a donkey up to our lunch, a UNESCO World Heritage site, in the mountains

  4. “Glamping” in the Agafay desert, complete with a DJ, fully functional showers, and some rather disgruntled camels

  5. Our 9-hour bus ride leading us to create and perform our dance “Get Your Morock-On” (check us out; we’re Insta-famous)

Group poses in front of one of the beautiful doorways of Fez

Group poses in front of one of the beautiful doorways of Fez

As with any trip we faced our challenges: the aforementioned food poisoning, heat exhaustion, motion sickness; but we supported each other with a sense of humor and a liberal dosage of over-the-counter medication. The Moroccan people opened up their lives to us and we were welcomed warmly by restaurateurs, hawkers, and passersby alike. We left with a greater sense of community and a love for the Moroccan people, history, and food. Tagine, anyone?

RW Morocco were the winners of the RW Photo Contest. Check out more of their adventures on Instagram @boothrwmorocco2017 and their music video on YouTube!

RW Iceland: Bonding Beyond the Wall

By Chris Liquin, Class of 2019

By Chris Liquin, Class of 2019

As I reflected on our remarkably diverse Iceland trip, I naturally found myself revisiting our group Instagram account for inspiration. It is often said that you can judge a person by their first Instagram post – so of course, I applied this long-standing philosophy to our trip, as well. What I found revealed a series of deep truths about our passions, priorities, our successes and failures. Just kidding…

Best lobster roll in Minnesota? Group enjoys a meal at the airport before they leave for Iceland #arewethereyet #icelandviaMSP

Best lobster roll in Minnesota? Group enjoys a meal at the airport before they leave for Iceland #arewethereyet #icelandviaMSP

So, let’s start with the obvious: our group loves food. While the Minnesota airport lobster roll was not particularly memorable, we did enjoy some of the best dinners of my life in Iceland. Our food-loving trip leaders did a phenomenal job picking out the hot spots of the island. The Icelandic diet is what you would expect from remote islanders living on a cold, volcanic glacier: really fresh fish, some lamb, and no vegetables (unless you count potatoes). Highlights included whale, shark, arctic char, and puffin. Poor cute little puffin.

At the start of this piece, I introduced the trip as remarkably diverse. Not including our trip leaders, we had only four Americans on our trip of fourteen. But that isn’t where the diversity ends. We stayed in the ritzy Grand Hotel Reykjavík and we stayed in tiny tents under the northern lights. We hiked an ice-cold glacier and we relaxed in natural hot springs.

Experiencing such breadth of activities with a group of brand new friends allowed us to genuinely go deep in getting to know one another across a range of contexts. Different people find energy through different activities – as we continued to push on to new experiences, our understanding of one another evolved in new and interesting ways. At some point, I learned that one of our quietest group members from Beijing had early ambitions of being an actress, which totally explains why her Jazz hands are so on point in that first Instagram photo.

RW Iceland group takes obligatory glacier photo

RW Iceland group takes obligatory glacier photo

Honestly, one of the most memorable moments was watching the latest episode of Game of Thrones together. On one of our tour bus rides, we created a fort with an Icelandic blanket, used a Brazilian’s HBO account, on an Australian’s laptop with a Chinese VPN – all orchestrated by one dedicated Israeli. What an episode it was.

I think the trip also marked the beginning of our realization that the next two years would be… Different. It introduced, for me at least, a sense of urgency I hadn’t felt in a long time – this was going to be cool. Really cool. My classmates were cool. Really cool. Even in the most interesting of careers, most of us hadn’t experienced this level of true mélange. Even as self-proclaimed foodies, most of us hadn’t ever tried shark. Even as well-traveled, cultured adventurers, no one had seen the Northern Lights. This whole business school thing was going to be different. But I still wouldn’t recommend the shark.

RW Guatemala: Meeting Felisha the Flamingo

Paul Veiga, Class of 2019

Paul Veiga, Class of 2019

¿Por qué el gallo cruzó la carretera?

Stepping out of the airport in Guatemala City, we were intrigued when we saw an interesting looking man holding a Chicago Booth sign. Juan Galich, or Juancho as he preferred, strode towards us in his flip flops and capri jeans, long hair flowing in the light breeze. Little did we know that our tour guide would soon prove himself also a local celebrity, live performer, and renowned hot sauce maker. Juancho’s cousin, Fernando aka El Mono, also accompanied us and the energy Juancho and Fernando brought was contagious! We are eternally grateful for their presence.

Group picture at Tikal National Park

Group picture at Tikal National Park

We spent our first full day in the Tikal National Park outside of Flores, an archaeological dream world filled with ancient Mayan ruins, temples, and fun little animals called coatis. Normally a place of reflection, where one could stare out into the jungle as far as the eye could see, we were surprised by one group in particular. We stared as they circled around an individual gazing up at the sky with a Darth Vader looking mask. Was this some type of ritual? An ancient custom perhaps? No, we quickly learned, just a good spot for a quick glimpse of a solar eclipse.

The adventures continued as we journeyed to Antigua to spend time at the Pacaya National Park, an active volcano. After a few hours of hiking we took a break to become one with nature. Some danced in the rain like niños and a few toasted marshmallows over the natural hot steam. The day ended at the hot springs of Santa Teresita, where an hour of pool volleyball served as a warning for the level of competition to be expected at Fall Frolics.

Though we started off the trip with fifteen members, a sixteenth was introduced prior to our “I’m on a boat” themed evening in Antigua. Felisha, an inflatable flamingo pool float, came with us everywhere for the rest of the trip, from dinner to the club. In fact, we all got along so well, that Felisha will likely make an appearance at a Booth event later this year.

Felisha the Flamingo - RW Guatemala participant #16

Felisha the Flamingo - RW Guatemala participant #16

The last portion of the trip was spent on the beautiful Lake Atitlan, where relaxation reached its pinnacle. The landscapes and activities I’ve described were amazing. But what made this random walk truly unforgettable, like all others I assume, is the downtime spent together. Telling stories of when public transportation went awry, doing the crab walk down a mountain, and listing out facts about bananas late into the evening. These are the memories that will withstand time.

Tina, Jessie, Misha, and Alex – thank you for everything.

Words from the Wise: How to Succeed in Your Summer Internship (or What Not to Do)

By Audrey Lancaster and Sarah Donohue-Rolfe, Class of 2017

Now that we are graduates and about to return to the adult world, we wanted to impart some advice on how to be successful in your summer internship. Most advice you receive will be on how to behave or build your network effectively. But we think it is more helpful to share how NOT to behave at your internship, unless you desire to be a perpetual career changer. So long as you avoid these pitfalls, you can guarantee at least a recommendation, if not a full time offer.

1.    Don’t show up late. Your internship is only 10-12 weeks and you want to make a good impression. You have plenty of time to sleep in as a second year because let’s be honest, you have to rest up before TNDC but the internship is not this time.

2.    Facebook stalking is not your profession - stay off social media while at the job and you won’t risk finding awkward photos of your boss. You should be working hard and not playing on social media.

3.    Avoid making personal calls to your friends and mom while at work. That call or text message can surely wait until you leave work and your friends and cube mates will thank you for not boring them with your monotonous daily routine.

4.    Leggings are not real pants and picking up the closest article of clothing from your hamper does not make a good impression. An iron can be your friend. Also, Febreze does not count as doing your laundry. Dress appropriately.

5.    Never pick your nose or fart in your cubicle. This is not how you make friends or impress your manager; maybe bring a bowl of candy instead. Cleanliness really does matter.

6.    Don’t act like you know it all. Booth does a great job of providing you with the foundations to be successful but that doesn’t mean you can tell your manager how to do his/her job better.

7.    Don’t be anti-social. Eat lunch with your teammates or other interns and join after-work events; remember there is a world outside of Booth and here is an opportunity to grow your LinkedIn network!

8.    Speaking of networking, don’t network with other firms while you are at work. This is a great way to not receive a job offer after the internship. After all, you wouldn’t want your significant other to find out you were still playing the field after you agreed to settle down (for at least your summer internship).

9.    Know your boundaries. Don’t expect to meet with the CEO one-on-one unless your project requires it. CEOs are typically busy people and likely have no idea who you are, so keep that in mind. If you want to meet with them, try and leverage your network to get you in the door.

10.  Don’t forget to have fun - it is still summertime and you should try to enjoy it!

Good luck! Don’t forget career services is always available to help!

Out Of the Loop: Exploring Boystown through the Pink Party!

OUTreach co-chairs pose after the incredible performances

OUTreach co-chairs pose after the incredible performances

If the amazing gifs in the promotion emails were any indication, OUTreach’s #PinkParty was bound to be a fun-filled evening. This Saturday, over 300 Boothies from the Full-Time and Evening / Weekend program ventured out of the loop and descended upon Sidetrack Video bar in Boystown. After briefly selling out earlier in the week, Pink Party managed to find tickets for those who were having no success on the secondary market. The second wave sold out quickly too and people on the waitlist continued searching for last-minute tickets on GroupMe.

Row 1 (L to R) The LEAD queens pose for the cheering crowd; “Adele” croons for the crowd; Krissy Feetface ready to own the stage. Row 2 (L to R) Tasha Fierce and Hay-Z ready to rock it; Winners of the Pink Party 2017 Crown; Rugby team celebrates a victory on the field, on the stage

Row 1 (L to R) The LEAD queens pose for the cheering crowd; “Adele” croons for the crowd; Krissy Feetface ready to own the stage.

Row 2 (L to R) Tasha Fierce and Hay-Z ready to rock it; Winners of the Pink Party 2017 Crown; Rugby team celebrates a victory on the field, on the stage

The evening featured tons of pink, a variety of frosty beverages (including Sidetracks’ slushies) and amazing, raucous drag performances! The emcees, Christine Groesbeck and Andrew Janiszewski (as his fuchsia-clad alter ego Alexa Playmusic), kicked off the evening by introducing Chicago Drag Queen Krissy Feetface, performing for the first time at Pink Party! Her stage shaking, fierce performance had the crowd screaming and applauding, and ready for the competition to follow.

The bar had been set. And the Boothies were ready to cheer on their classmates in the amateur drag competition. After a few words from the judges - Chris Collins, Associate Dean for Leadership Development, Jessica Jaggers, Senior Director Diversity Affairs & Student Life, Maria Ocasio, Director of Diversity Affairs and Thomas Winberry, Assistant Professor of Economics - the performances commenced. As one judge said, the crowd wanted the “queens to work it and kings to slay” and that they did.

Fresh from their win over Kellogg, the Booth rugby team made an appearance, trading out their short rugby shorts for shorter skirts and pink boas. Not to be outdone, the LEAD facilitators for 2017 stepped up with not just one queen on stage, but two! “Adele” represented the Evening / Weekend program and the audience joined her in her lip sync performance because she truly had “our hearts inside of her hand” as she crooned to Rolling in the Deep. And then Tasha Fierce stepped up with Hay-Z and as one of the folks up front, I can attest that we couldn’t hear the music over the screams of the crowd. However, it was the first ever Pink Party Drag King performance by the Cunning Linguists that stole the show, and the Pink Party 2017 crown, with their rolling, grinding and swagger, it was a (pun-intended) pants dropping performance.

The incredible entertainment aside, this evening was able to highlight and celebrate the diversity and LGBT allyship in the Booth community. This was step forward for Boothies who ventured out of The Loop, to a historically significant neighborhood in Chicago, and perhaps some, to a place outside their comfort zone.

Pink lights at Sidetrack Bar added to the evening’s festivities

Pink lights at Sidetrack Bar added to the evening’s festivities

For those hoping to explore Boystown more, a few recommendations from OUTreach co-chair Taylor Carson - “Wood is a great place to grab a bite. Hit DS Tequila for margaritas. Salsitas has THE BEST late night greasy, cheesy quesadillas. And if you want late night, sweaty dancing, Hydrate and Scarlet are great.”

One thing is for sure, looking back at that evening, we can definitely say, “Oh my Gaga, that was so good!” Major kudos to the OUTreach co-chairs who worked tirelessly to get this event together.

Preparing for your Summer Internship: Finding your Anchors

Rohan Hemrajani, Class of 2017

Rohan Hemrajani, Class of 2017

As you start your summer internships, you are going into a new and unfamiliar environment, where you would need to prove yourself worthy for a full-time gig in less than 10-12 weeks. I walked into Ecolab Inc. in Minneapolis for my summer internship that encompassed a whole lot of unknowns: the city, the industry, the role, the team and the company itself. In order to maximize my productivity and experience, I had to anchor myself to people within the company who can help me settle down quickly, and also contribute towards a success summer: people who can support me beyond the professional context. I called them my “go-to team.”

Who can they be?

Essentially, your anchors should be employees within the organization who have spent a considerable time in the company as well as the location. They can be someone who you have some similarity with, such as company division, business school, work floor or even ethnic background. My “go-to team” comprised of my manager, my team’s director, 2015 Booth alumni and a fellow Indian who had his work station right next to me.

What can they support you in?

It is important to build personal relationships with your anchors, to enable trust and support beyond your project. Some of the different areas I took support in were: feedback and run-through on final presentation, who to network with and how, fun things to do in the city, and even pursuing common interests together. The interactions could range from personal to professional contexts: from a formal meeting to getting drinks or even catching up over the weekend.

Recognize that you may need more than just one type of anchor. Find a diverse group of people to surround yourself with.

Recognize that you may need more than just one type of anchor. Find a diverse group of people to surround yourself with.

How can you sustain these relationships?

Your anchors should know that you value their feedback and trust their opinion. This makes them more invested in your development and experience. I often openly communicated this to my anchors, and it fostered a stronger bond with them. Beyond communication, it was also important for me to maintain regular interaction with them. The conversations shouldn’t always be when you need some kind of support. I used to often catch up with my anchors, and have meaningful conversations with them about their personal interests and background or their professional goals. This way, you are also building long-term relationships, but do not do this with the intent of sustaining anchors; be genuinely interested in building these relationships.

The first few days of your internship are overwhelming because you are getting to know new people, while trying to figure out the scope of your project. Hopefully, you find your anchors in these days so they could help get you over this feeling faster and can direct you towards a successful summer stint.

Reflections on the Harper Center Art Tour

You’ve encountered the Harper Center art in your Booth life, passively or actively - you may have been lucky enough to sign up in the first 5 minutes and 13 seconds to get a spot on the art tour, you may laughed about the provocative video by the mail-folders highlighted in the Follies promo, and now that the weather is getting better, perhaps even stared at the tree in the Summer Garden a little closer - but what if you didn’t get on the tour? We reached out to a few lucky Boothies who did to ask them about their favorite pieces and what made them pause and think, rather like the “Why Are We Here And Not Somewhere Else” sign makes us think.

Drew Jacob, Class of 2018

Drew Jacobs, Class of 2018 discusses Simon Denny's 08.55 Textbook Disruption (pictured) and Janice Kerbel's Ballgame.

Drew Jacobs, Class of 2018 discusses Simon Denny's 08.55 Textbook Disruption (pictured) and Janice Kerbel's Ballgame.

“The first thing Professor Prendergast told us on the Harper art tour was that the collection was not devised as an investment, but for the enjoyment of the Booth community. So you’re meant to interact with it, and pause and think. It is always a pleasure to discover a new piece of art, particularly when the encounter is unexpected. Some of my favorite pieces are the ones that are easily overlooked: Prior to going on the tour, I had not examined Simon Denny's Textbook Disruption, a piece hanging outside the first floor study lounge, because I had assumed it was marketing material.

However, one piece I really enjoyed was was unexpected in that it wasn’t visual. Janice Kerbel's Ballgame, an audio installation in a set of staircases that plays 2 innings of a baseball game followed by 7 innings of silence.”

David Mendez, Class of 2018

David Mendez, Class of 2018 talks about Tomoko Taneda's thought provoking pieces

David Mendez, Class of 2018 talks about Tomoko Taneda's thought provoking pieces

“The most thought-provoking pieces for me is a series of three photographs by Tomoko Yaneda on the 5th floor.

I really liked them because at first glance they are just three photographs of amazing landscapes but then, Professor Canice Prendergast told us that these three places, peaceful as they looked, had been in fact war zones - Lebanon-Israel border, Sarajevo and The Korea’s border. That stuck with me. I realized that at the time of the photograph everything looked so peaceful, but that there was way more story behind what the photograph was able to show. It kind of also reminded me that despite the fact that time really heals or at least washes away pretty much everything.”

Rahil Bharani, Class of 2018

Rahil Bharani, Class of 2018, enlightens us on the secret of Mark Grotjahn's series on Level 1. Seen in installation on the top right and as close ups in Row 2.

Rahil Bharani, Class of 2018, enlightens us on the secret of Mark Grotjahn's series on Level 1. Seen in installation on the top right and as close ups in Row 2.

“I particularly like the set of five paintings outside the academic services offices on level 1. They are by an LA artist - Mark Grotjahn. I was always intrigued by what the dates meant and the background story about the painting makes them very interesting. These paintings were commissioned for $5000 before the artist became famous. He went to an LA casino and wagered the $5000 on 5 different days. Each painting mentions the date and the amount he won or lost. Since then, the painter has become exceedingly famous and is known for the perspectives in his painting, hence the projecting lines.”

Lisa Twu, Class of 2018

Lisa Twu, Class of 2018 discusses two pieces by an artist who moved her. Pictured above Wolfgang Tillman's photo of Venus eclipsing the sun (center) and a close-up of a sheet of paper (right).

Lisa Twu, Class of 2018 discusses two pieces by an artist who moved her. Pictured above Wolfgang Tillman's photo of Venus eclipsing the sun (center) and a close-up of a sheet of paper (right).

"My favorite pieces were from Wolfgang Tillmans. For the first piece, which Wolfgang calls his 'proudest work' I liked that at first glance, the photograph doesn't look like much. Once you realize that it is actually Venus eclipsing the sun, the most impressive part is that next time this is going to happen isn't until 2117. He was able to time the photo just right and its a reminder how it's so easy to take things for granted.

I also really the second piece which is part of a collection of images. To me, it looks like some strange vortex. However, it's only one sheet of paper folded on itself. I think it speaks to me that we can find beauty even in the simplest things."

Parker Ito's A Lil Taste of Cheeto In the Night and FggitCxx3

Parker Ito's A Lil Taste of Cheeto In the Night and FggitCxx3

As the author of the piece who, unluckily, hasn’t had the chance to go on the tour, I was lucky to learn more about a piece I encounter quite often, the one outside the locker room. Parker Ito’s mass of colorful paintings, chains and LED lights that's impossible to miss – Parker Ito’s A Lil Taste of Cheeto In the Night and FggitCxx3 – a giant mass of LED lights and strung up canvasses that’s impossible to miss. As I sat down with some of the folks who made it on the tour, they were able to voice what I always thought - this piece is supposed to make you look up and take notice. It is a way of capturing the sensory overload in our lives that spills over the lines.

One of the things that makes the environment at the Harper Center truly unique is this amazing collection. And we’re glad to get these perspectives. After all, “Why Are We Here” right?

Disha Malik is an art enthusiast who bemoans the fact that she hasn’t been on the art tour yet. However, she is happy to chat with your experiences if you have. For more check out http://art.chicagobooth.edu/

Out of The Loop: Venture to the Glorious Chicago Gold Coast

Charles Fisher, Class of 2019

Charles Fisher, Class of 2019

Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood has both the nightlife and dining to make it a great evening. From the notorious middle-aged hookup bars at “The Viagra Triangle” (Rush and State) to the late night fun at the Division Street bars, it is always a fun night.  

Bordered by Old Town and the Near North side, the neighborhood is easily accessible via Michigan Avenue or the Clark and Division Red-line. If you feel like spending some serious money on apparel or accessories, Oak Street shop’s is where it is at – don’t tell your girlfriend. If you need to take a shopping break, Fred’s at Barney’s has a great outdoor patio on the top floor. Not too far are Le Colonial (French Indochina food), Q Restaurant (BBQ), and 3rd Coast (great brunch), which are local favorites.

Then venture a little farther north to State and Rush. Affectionately named for the clientele that patron the restaurants, “The Viagra Triangle” is a great place for food and drinks early on in the evening. Get a drink and watch the couples while playing the “Sugar Daddy or Regular Couple” game. This strip is home to the Chicago’s well-known restaurants including Gibson’s, Tavern on Rush, and Lux Bar. If you are looking for a little more casual meal, Velvet Taco offers some of the more creative takes on taco combinations.

Once you have wandered the triangle, the Division Street bars should be next on the list. If it is still too early, you can always go to Restoration Hardware, or “RH”, drink and look at overpriced furniture to replace the Ikea in your home. This restaurant/showroom always has a line to get a table, so expect to put your name down for a wait. As seems to be the trend these days, you can drink and shop while you wait - probably to facilitate the impulsive buying process. If you are looking for a more rustic feel, Glunz Tavern on Wells and Division is the place; I know I am encroaching on Old Town territory, so neighborhood purists please forgive me. The old school German bar has the best authentic German food and you can get a boot too! If you don’t know what a boot is, watch the epic poem Beerfest. This place is classier though and no theme music.

Wander through Restoration Hardware and peruse furniture with drink in hand or grab a seat under the beautiful skylight for a leisurely meal.

Wander through Restoration Hardware and peruse furniture with drink in hand or grab a seat under the beautiful skylight for a leisurely meal.

It should be late by this time, so it is time to head back to the Division Street bars. My favorites are Hangge-uppe (“Hang-up”), Hopsmith, Butch Mcguire's, and Zebra Lounge. All the other bars will blend together at this point. As all Boothies should know, if your feet aren’t sticking to the floor when you go to Hangge-uppe, you are there too early. Leave and come back at 3am. Zebra Lounge, on the other hand, is a great small live music piano bar that cannot be missed. Before you leave to go home, make sure to go to Five Faces on Division and treat yourself to a gyro or hamburger. You deserve it.

Charles is an Evening / Weekend student who calls The Gold Coast his home. A Chicago native, he’s always happy to help folks explore new neighborhoods in the city.

“A Commitment To Doing Good & Doing Well” at the DuSable Conference

For more details on the DuSable Conference, look out for emails from AAMBAA, learn more on Booth Groups or visit  www.dusableconference.com

For more details on the DuSable Conference, look out for emails from AAMBAA, learn more on Booth Groups or visit  www.dusableconference.com

With AAMBAA’s signature event, the 32nd Annual DuSable Conference, just around the corner, Chibus sat down with Zachary White ‘17 and Ameerah Phillips ‘17, the conference co-chairs to learn more about what makes this conference so special.

Chibus: The theme of “A Commitment To Doing Good & Doing Well” struck me immediately applicable to me a business school student. Tell me a little about why that was such an important theme for you to highlight?

ZW: “The idea was born out of our desire as leaders of AAMBAA to continue the conversation about our engagement with society as business leaders. For the last two years now, we've all observed the various movements and conversations our society is having about ensuring equitable treatment and access to opportunities for all members of our society. The reality is that we as business leaders have a voice in that discussion and the opportunity to have a positive impact. And we are excited to share this with other Business Students, recognizing that we are going to be at the forefront of leading businesses, new ventures, industry, and we can use this opportunity to think about how we can leverage our experiences to make an impact and give back to the communities in which we live. We've assembled an amazing lineup of speakers who will share their experiences at the forefront of business and community engagement.”

AP: "Moreover, it was really important to us to debunk the myth that doing good and doing well are mutually exclusive concepts. Given our current political and social climate, we want to encourage our colleagues--fellow emerging professionals--to integrate personal values into their work to make a meaningful impact, while still advancing their respective interests."

Ameerah Phillips, Class of 2017

Ameerah Phillips, Class of 2017

Zachary White, Class of 2017

Zachary White, Class of 2017

 

Chibus: Chicago Booth is known for being an engaged community. Did you see a desire for this particular conversation in the rest of the community?

ZW: “Absolutely. We have a long-standing legacy of students and alumni at the school who have been engaged in shaping community here in Chicago and elsewhere. AAMBAA had a few events throughout the year highlighting social issues such as the #BlackLivesMatter movement in addition to a few members participating in Booth Insights. We found that there is a hunger and desire in our classmates to have this type of conversation.

Moreover, we had the support to really make this vision come to fruition. At Chicago Booth, we’re privileged to have access to and the support of partners like the Social Enterprise Initiative, which has been instrumental in helping us shape this conference. With their help, we've assembled speakers and panelists that can share powerful insights on what it means to maintain a commitment to doing good and doing well.”

Chibus: Tell us a little about what we should expect?

ZW: “The DuSable Conference will be filled with powerful insights and practical takeaways from individuals who have had success in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors.  Chicago Booth students continually look for ways to engage and hopefully, students will be encouraged to take action.

We're lucky to have Martin Nesbitt, Chicago GSB ‘89, join us to share his story in addition to providing some tangible steps for balancing one's career and community engagement. Martin is Co-Founder and Co-CEO of The Vistria Group LLC based in Chicago.

In addition to establishing a private equity firm, Martin has leveraged his network for civic engagement. He’s been incredibly involved as the Chairman of the Obama Foundation, leading the development of the Presidential Library and community center.

Additionally, with the help of the SEI, we were able to secure Elizabeth and Don Thompson. Don is a former CEO of McDonald's while Liz serves as a Trustee for The University of Chicago. Here are two people who are balancing business and philanthropy by creating an organization focused on the community, the Cleveland Avenue Foundation for Education alongside a successful business venture, Cleveland Avenue LLC, a VC firm and startup accelerator focused on building new food and beverage businesses.

And of course, if you didn’t have the opportunity to join Professor Epley’s Designing a Good Life last quarter, he will be there to set the tone of the conference and share research that supports the importance of doing good while also doing well.”

AP: "To add to Zac's point, we'd like to highlight the fact that the DuSable conference places a strong emphasis on interactive discussion and action. We'll have the opportunity to engage with these dynamic speakers, but it doesn't stop there, we hope that this conference will also encourage attendees to develop a plan of action to make a meaningful impact in their communities.

Beyond this, DuSable is also a great networking opportunity. It gathers current students, alums, graduate students from across the city, and Chicago civic and business professionals. It's a great way to meet new people and build relationships."  

Chibus: What do you hope attendees with take away from this conference?

ZW: "Considering that this is Spring Quarter with Boothies close to graduation and summer internships, we hope that students take away from this day a greater sense of the impact they can have in their communities as business leaders. They can take inspiration from speakers and identify avenues in their lives where they can give back.”

Sign up for the DuSable Conference on Booth Groups. The conference will be held on Saturday, May 6th at the Gleacher Center and the ticket includes all the conference sessions, lunch, post-conference reception with unlimited frosty beverages, and entry to the late night social!

Out of the Loop: Hyde Park Edition. The World beyond Woodlawn

By Disha Malik, Class of 2018

By Disha Malik, Class of 2018

Spring is, dare we say, here and summer is on its way. As the weather improves, Boothies find themselves stepping out of the Harper Center to Summer Garden, perhaps venture as far as the outdoor patio at Plein Air Cafe. As a double Maroon (former UChicago undergrad) I love it when people explore beyond the bubble of Harper. Hell, we’re going to Mandel Hall for Follies! So this article is an introduction to just a few more places in Hyde Park and the great big university just beyond Woodlawn.

Coffee - Hallowed Grounds. (1127 E 57th St)

Up on the second floor of the Reynolds Club is the dim-lit, dark paneled, gothic Hallowed Grounds coffee shop complete with pool table. The soundtrack is barista’s choice, making this feel even more like a coffee shop by the students and for the students. Its cozy vibe and devoted customer base creates a homey atmosphere that you discovered all for yourself.

Quick Bite - Grounds of Being (Swift Hall, 1025 E 58th St)

The Divinity School Cafe known as “Grounds of Being” would be my pick for a quick bite, a cup of coffee, and a great place to see how the Battle of the Gods tip jar competition is progressing. It’s super pun-ny right now, with Protestant Reformation vs. Beyonce’s Formation my recent favorite matchup. The cafe curates lunch options from around the neighborhood so if you want a falafel or some pad thai, or both, go grab lunch and maybe an Irish Catholic coffee. After all, as their mugs put it, it’s “Where God Drinks Coffee.”

Collectibles at Grounds of Being Cafe

Collectibles at Grounds of Being Cafe

Leisurely Meal - Medici on 57th (1327 E 57th St)

Medici or The Med, is a Hyde Park institution. Go for the Garbage Pizza (or Garbage Salad if you’re being healthy) and stop at the Med bakery next door for a fruit tart or a mexicana shake! Before you leave, make sure you find a moment to scratch your name in with the millions of inscriptions in the tables and walls.

Frosty Beverages - Woodlawn Tap aka Jimmy’s (1172 E 55th St)

Go beyond The Pub to Jimmy’s, nicknamed after its legendary bartender and owner (you may find it on Yelp as Woodlawn Tap) for cheap food and fare. Walk up to Woodlawn and 55th Street to sit amongst a mix of students, professors and Hyde Park locals and order up a side of fries with your drink. You won’t regret it. (PSA: It’s cash only.)

Best View of the Chicago Skyline - The Promontory Point (5491 S Shore Dr)

This was a close one between the Astronomy Tower and Logan Arts Center, but since frisbee season is almost here, I went with The Promontory Point, also known as The Point. The Point (not to be confused with the restaurant The Promontory, which is also great) is a little oasis on the South Side. It’s right on the lake, you get an amazing view of the skyline and you can always sunbathe there.

Secret Escape - Osaka Garden or Garden of the Phoenix (6401 S Stony Island)

While you’re at The Point, visit the Osaka Gardens right behind the Museum of Science and Industry! The beautiful serene space has an art installation by Yoko Ono. It’s worth it.

Study Space - Harper Memorial Library (1116 E 59th St)

This doesn’t happen often but every once in awhile, Boothies need a study space that's not the Winter Garden. For that, head over to Harry Potter… uh… Harper Memorial Library. Comfy chairs, coffee supply from yet another student run shop, Common Knowledge Cafe, and the opportunity to enjoy a little slice of the Harry Potter world.

Fantastic Find - $1 Shake Day at the C-Shop (5706 S University Ave)

$1 Shake Day! If Wednesdays are getting you down, and the “hump-day” camel isn’t helping with the fact that the weekend is far away, step over to Einstein Bros Bagels at the C-Shop to grab a shake for just a dollar. Personally I wait for the Cookies N’ Cream but I respect your decision to get that Strawberry Shake with Oreos too.

Disha loves revisiting her favorite spots on campus and would be happy to lead a tour or give suggestions to anyone who wants to wander beyond the world of Woodlawn.

Spring Break Israel: History, Culture & Adventure at BoothRight

By Brian Gracia, Class of 2017

By Brian Gracia, Class of 2017

This Spring Break, over 130 second-year Booth students, from 19 countries, experienced the culture, history, and nightlife of Israel on what has become an annual student-led trip nicknamed BoothRight.

The journey began in the holy city of Jerusalem. There, the group was greeted by the Mayor of Jerusalem who discussed a wide range of topics including movement of the US embassy, the Palestinian conflict, and decriminalization of cannabis. After, small tour groups experienced some of the world’s most important religious sites including the “Wailing” Wall, Temple Mount, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre while others took a trip to Jerusalem’s Western Market. Daniel Ochoterena (Class of 2017) described the old city as “awe-inspiring: ancient, thriving and majestic.” The group wrapped up their Jerusalem experience at Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Memorial Museum.

The next stop of the journey was a luxurious day floating in the Dead Sea with spa-like mud treatments. Unfortunately, the group could not stay forever and soon departed for an evening with the nomadic Bedouin people. Participants Andrew and Liz Ward found the Bedouin tent party to be one of the highlights of their trip, where “they had belly dancers who pulled each of us out of the crowd to shake it in front of our fellow BoothRighters!” The visit included a sunrise at Herod’s palace-like fortress Masada.

Boothies stop to take a cheery photo during a sunrise visit to Masada

Boothies stop to take a cheery photo during a sunrise visit to Masada

A special treat was an Air Force Base tour organized by trip co-leader and former fighter pilot Lior Sahaf. The group learned about Israel’s air capabilities in addition to watching F-16’s take-off up-close on the runway. Next, the group transitioned to the Golan Heights to take an ATV tour to a former Syrian base. The remainder of the trip included stops at the Sea of Galilee and Nazareth before two days of shopping, relaxation, and beach time in beautiful Tel Aviv.

Other highlights included “Bus Fun”, “Wakey-Wakey”, ladies favorite ‘Steve’, and “Thank You for Your Service.” Student leaders Lily Rapaport, Itai Koren, Lior Sahaf, Eran Lewis and Maayan Aharon did an amazing job leading a transformative experience on Booth’s largest annual second year trip and have earned lifelong appreciation from the participants. Class of 2017’s Rikki Singh put it best: “Israel provides the perfect background for honest conversations and getting to know 130 friends better without being overwhelmed!”

The group returns to the US with a new affinity for hummus and pita.

Spring Break Colombia: Painting Colombia Maroon

By Jehana Vazifdar, Class of 2018

By Jehana Vazifdar, Class of 2018

Off to a delayed start, my Colombia adventure began with a flourish. I was part of the “lost” crew; a cancelled flight, unexpected night in NYC, and another delayed flight later, 23 other Boothies and I finally made it to the party in Bogota’s legendary steakhouse Andrés Carne de Res. After an Aguardiente-fueled ride on the party-bus, we entered a labyrinth of what felt like a massive 3D doodle, with every inch of the sprawling bar decorate with neon signs and eclectic hangings. In the one-day head-start other Boothies had on us, they seemed to have already gathered a collection of moves they rocked to the tunes of Luis Fonsi’s Despacito. The song became the anthem of our rollercoaster Spring Break trip.

Although the travel rigmarole meant that I had missed the Bogota city tour, I got to soak in culture in Medellin the next day. 60+ Booth students trekked through what was once the most dangerous neighborhood in the world – the comunas (slums) of Santo Domingo. We ascended the steep hill on a wobbly bus packed with locals. Atop the hill, we bought beers from a local bar before traversing Camino de la Vida, or the path of life – designed to create a sense of pride and community amongst the slum dwellers. The landscaped path presented stunning views of the slums sparkling like jewels below us as the last embers of the sun faded.

The highlight of my trip was a boat party in El Peñol De Guatape. Caps bearing our names added a host of color against the landscape of green hills and water. The Booth flag was flourished as we conquered Colombia with our revelry. It was flourished again when a hundred of us committed our loyalties to the Colombian soccer team as they defeated Bolivia in a qualifying game for the 2018 World Cup. In our bright yellow jerseys matching the crowd, we felt fully immersed in Colombian culture.

But nothing could match the fiesta on Isla Grande (the big island). The party began in the morning on a boat – the best ones always do! Our matching neon shirts filled the white yachts with color. Each boat belted its own beats as its inhabitants dived into the ocean. The party continued on the glorious sands of Isla Grande, punctuated by a delicious meal of shrimp and plantain fritters.

Shrimp, sand and surf; it was a befitting last day in Colombia for many of us. For the others, we got another day of sun and fun on the islands.

A big thank you to Booth students Sebastián Pérez Restrepo, Valentina Díaz and Camilo Alvarez for organizing this trip. I'd also like to acknowledge the Vaova travel company team, especially Juan Pablo Toro and Christian Byfield, whose energy, enthusiasm and creativity infused the trip with fun. 

Spring Break Japan: #KonichiWhyBooth

By Alejandro Lozano, Class of 2018

By Alejandro Lozano, Class of 2018

As someone who likes to think of themselves as decently well-traveled, I have never felt so out of place or so far from home than when I was in Japan. However, what I can clearly say is that the country was absolutely phenomenal and in some ways completely indescribable. After a thirteen hour flight, 42 Boothies landed in Tokyo to experience what Japan had to offer. While the group as a whole got to visit a number of cities including  Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima, Nara, Hakone, Tokyo, I found myself recalling specific occasions more than specific cities.

Stepping off the plane, Japan felt like an entirely different planet, but that could be because it was my first time in Asia proper. Tokyo in particular feels like stepping into a sci-fi movie, where you are surrounded by hundreds of people in dark suits rushing about their day. Stimuli in every way, shape and form constantly surrounds you, from an immense amount of human activity at the Shibuya crossing, to maid cafes where you are referred to as “master” in the anime-capital Harajuku. A visit to the Robot Restaurant in Shinjuku truly brings all that together with an absurd, larger than life robot show which really drives it home that Japan is nothing that what you may have ever experienced before.

Group at the magnificent Miyajima Floating Torii. 

Group at the magnificent Miyajima Floating Torii. 

In stark contrast, Kyoto and Osaka had more traditional atmosphere, and our time there was spent visiting serene, ancient sites. One of my favorite things of the entire trip was visiting a traditional farm-to-table restaurant in a cul-de-sac in a residential part of rural Kyoto. Here we sampled the top-grade “legendary” Japanese wagyu beef and then, were able to exercise it off by doing a twenty minute hike up a mountain to a monkey park where macaques roam freely and you get a spectacular view of Kyoto.

What also struck me was that visiting Japan was way more challenging than any other country I’ve been to without having a native speaker accompanying you constantly. Yet the politeness, generosity and patience of each person you meet can take you aback, especially if you are an American living in an urban city. You are greeted everywhere you go with a bow and sent off with a thanks. Even the subway transit conductors will turn around and bow every time they move from train cart to train cart. Try getting the Chicago Metra folks to do that.

Shout out to Yoko Ushioda and Yala Su for organizing a life-changing trip. The Boothies return to Chicago with a greater appreciation of the diverse offerings Japan holds while recognizing that while the country has it all, it could do with a few more English speakers.

Spring Break Morocco: Bargaining and Barakah with Boothies

By Enrique Hederra, Class of 2018

By Enrique Hederra, Class of 2018

Who would have said that travelling with more than 50 unknown people from all over the world, in a country where you get lost in translation, and where you cannot drink tap water (but you always get a super sweet peppermint tea as soon as you step into a place) would have been such an amazing experience.

I participated in the Explore Morocco spring break trip, and this experience will remain vividly in my memory not only because of the magnificent country but also the friendships I walk away with.

The whole trip was a perfect blend of cultural visits, clubbing, relaxing and eating. We visited Tangier, Casablanca, Essaouira and Marrakech, each city offering a completely different experience; we walked through ancient medinas, did horseback riding at the sunset at a beautiful beach and climbed the Atlas Mountains on donkeys. We also ate like kings! Moroccan food has huge French and Spanish influence, which we were able to taste in lots of Tagines, including the meals we prepared ourselves in a cooking class!

Group enjoys the sites in the seaside town of Essaouira

Group enjoys the sites in the seaside town of Essaouira

The Moroccan sense of time, bargaining and barakah (good luck) were also some interesting learnings. Whenever we were told someone would arrive in 20 minutes they really meant one hour. Whenever somebody asked 800 dirham for something, you could easily buy it for 300. And you can attribute  to barakah nearly everything. I remember a friend buying a tagine. After getting the price down from 300 to 90 dirhams he found it full of dust. After complaining, he was told to better to keep the dust because it would bring him barakah.

As much as I was impressed by the country, I was equally impressed by the group of Boothies and their partners in the trip. I will honestly say that I have never been in a group with so many interesting people of so many different nationalities. Already in the very first minutes, I met people from as countries as far from mine as Botswana, Albania and Ethiopia. However, the conversations in the days that followed made me wish I could take more than just one spring break trip a year.

Finally, I want to thank Ziad Abouchadi who organized this trip to show us his beautiful country and its amazing culture.

Spring Break Patagonia: Falling Off The Grid and Becoming Leaders

By Christine Groesbeck, Class of 2018

By Christine Groesbeck, Class of 2018

Over the spring break, 16 Boothies embarked on a hiking expedition in Chilean Patagonia with NOLS, an organization that has been providing experiential leadership and wilderness training to students worldwide since 1965. Our group had a variety of reasons for signing on to the trip. Some wanted to learn proper Leave No Trace backpacking skills, others wanted to meet new Boothies in a smaller group setting, and a few of us signed up solely because Patagonia was high on our bucket-lists. 

The reality of the trip set in sometime between the hours we spent at REI poring over the extensive equipment list and the moment we tried to lift our heavy backpacks for the first time. We left our phones behind for a week off-the-grid and boarded a bus to the Cerro Castillo National Reserve. We were joined by three knowledgeable instructors who taught us everything from how to safely scale a steep mountain slope, to how to make some of the world’s best “camp-stove” pizza.

A magical moment under the stars. Photo Credit: Gustavo Centeno

A magical moment under the stars. Photo Credit: Gustavo Centeno

We hiked over two mountain passes, forded rivers and bushwhacked around waterfalls. The NOLS curriculum fit in seamlessly and we had the opportunity to set personal goals and take on leadership roles to ensure our group would successfully complete the course. We spent our last night in the backcountry on a local farm enjoying a traditional Chilean asado, or barbecue, and learning about the regional culture

Arriving back at the basecamp was bittersweet. Showering for the first time in seven days felt amazing but we were sad to say goodbye to our expedition family.

We headed home with a new appreciation for the power of nature and fond memories from one of the most challenging, rewarding and fun weeks of our combined Booth experiences.

Spring Break Tanzania: How Close Can We Get to That Lion?

By Tanya Puri, Class of 2018

By Tanya Puri, Class of 2018

The Booth Spring Break trip to Tanzania attracted over 20 Boothies united by the common mission of spotting as many wild cats as possible on our four days of safari game drives.

The trip kicked off with a traditional Tanzanian dinner in Kilimanjaro, followed by an early morning departure to the Tarangire National Park. Split into three jeeps stocked with binoculars, cameras and of course, unlimited frosty beverages, the Tanzania Spring Break had officially begun!

While we didn’t see any big cats at Tarangire, we saw zebras, giraffes, wildebeests and plenty of impalas and gazelles. We even spent a night in a tented lodge with the peaceful wildebeests as our neighbors. The next morning, after a half-day game drive, we stopped at a Masai Village where we were invited in to learn about their nomadic lives and learn some not-so-easy Masai dancing (read: jumping). Next, we drove to the Ngorongoro Crater which, at over 7000ft, is the world’s largest inactive volcano and is home to several animals, such as hippos and rhinos, and also featuring some incredible views.

Group pauses during an exciting game drive at the Tarangire National Park in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

Group pauses during an exciting game drive at the Tarangire National Park in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

The highlight was Serengeti National Park, where we were able to get close to our favorite wild cat, the lion. While it can be unnerving to be so close, with temperatures going up to 30 degrees Celsius, the animals were unaffected by our passing safari jeeps and were either seeking shelter from the harsh sun or searching for water. We spent two nights at the Serengeti, sleeping under the African sky full of stars and being escorted by Masai men back to our rooms after dark to avoid becoming lion prey.

The last day was a drive back to Arusha, with some Boothies making their way back to Chicago and others (ahem, second years) deciding to skip week 1, to explore more of East Africa. The group takes a moment to acknowledge James Levinson for fearlessly leading 20 Boothies to the African Savannah. James made sure we were close enough to the Lions to get incredible pictures but far away to escape with all limbs intact. In all seriousness, he handled all the logistics and planning and made this a once in a lifetime experience!

Confessions of a Double Maroon

By John Frame, Class of 2017

By John Frame, Class of 2017

As a second-year full-time student, now is about the time where the reality that the end is near starts to set in. Whether it’s the creepy nostalgia of “senioritis” from my high school days, the emails that remind me I need to apply for graduation, or the passing of the baton to the next group of ChiBus editors or admissions fellows, it’s no secret that the Booth experience is coming to a close for half of the students here. Since leaving a place you love can be hard, I’ve learned to begin saying “goodbye” early.

I came to Booth as somewhat of an anomaly. I studied English as an undergraduate at The University of Chicago and spent eight very long, yet rewarding, years in education as an English teacher, charter school co-founder, and non-profit manager. I knew very little about how corporations make the world go ‘round. I was fairly naive and even scoffed at the idea that business folks could care about anything other than making money. My experiences had incorrectly taught me this. Booth flipped the script.

When I came to Booth, I initially longed for my college and teaching days where I could debate the radical philosophies of Friedrich Nietzsche with a classmate or interpret voice and memory in Ntozake Shange’s for colored girls who have considered suicide/ when the rainbow is enuf with fellow undergraduate thespians or my nerdy students. But I now know that the purpose of this leg of my journey is not to change all of the experiences I’ve had in the past, but rather it’s to enrich those experiences with new colors.

I’ll admit I haven’t always loved my time here at Booth. Consulting recruiting was one of the worst moments for me, and a memory I cannot sooner forget. I was not always impressed with my professors’ abilities to break down material and or even to find the joy in teaching at times. I longed for more intellectually stimulating conversations that didn’t involve talk of careers or superficial musings.

...I’m preparing to leave this place (again) with a renewed sense of the possibilities.

But I am also critical of my own engagement and my own naive expectations. While I’ve certainly pushed myself to be more involved in the community as an Admissions Fellow, as an editor for this newspaper, and as a representative on university-wide councils, I can’t say that I’ve taken total advantage of all of the resources that exist here at the Harper Center. I haven’t scheduled many office hour chats with professors, attended many of the speaker series around campus, nor worked to create the spaces where students who long for deeper, more meaningful conversations like me can find one other.

However, I know that there is never enough time and I need to be easier on myself. So, I’m preparing to leave this place (again) with a renewed sense of the possibilities. The College before and now Booth have given me a powerful sense of confidence and self-worth. I am ready now more than ever to take on the world with all of the forward motion of a trailblazer.

At the end of the day, I have to remember that this Booth moment is just a stop on a longer road through many more unknowns. And I’m happy to traverse that road--full speed ahead--with some new, wonderful friends; a much larger network of innovative, passionate thinkers; and with the support of some really cool administrators and staff. With my favorite Beyonce song blasting in the background, bring it on.

If you’re feeling nostalgic, reach out and ask John to grab some tea or coffee to talk it through.