The verdict is in. The Random Walks this year were a ton of fun. There were celebrity sightings (John McCain and Katy Perry), trip leaders waking up covered with ants, selfie challenges, beating a Kellogg trip in beer pong, a whole lot of “icing”, and dinners in front of dancing robots. When asked what the funniest story of all was Gene Settoon, a second year Random Walk leader and program coordinator had to say it was when, ‘we had a trip leader realize that she left her passport back in Chicago (she was interning across the country) the day before her 6 am flight left for her trip. Unfortunately, her friends back in Chicago could not next day FedEx her passport so her boyfriend booked a round trip flight across the country to deliver her passport to her before she left. However, his flight was delayed and ultimately cancelled. As a last resort, he gave her passport to a random traveler flying to the city that the trip leader was in. The trip leader waited in the airport until this random person landed with her passport in hand. She was then able to go on her trip! This story really just reinforces my faith in humanity and shows that you can really screw up and still win.’
This year there were 460 participants spread across 27 trips stretching the globe from Argentina to Russian to the good old USA. A 6.9% increase in the number of participants from last year. On a scale of 1 to 10 the average trip bonding rating was 9.49 out of 10 with Nepal and Thailand bringing in the top bonding scores, while the average level of enjoyment was 9.28 out of 10.
For first years who missed out on a Random Walk this year, there is the option to lead a Random Walk next year. This year there were 51 applications for 27 trips, in 2013 there were 30 applications for 26 spots. If you are thinking about leading a Random Walk next year, start laying the groundwork early by getting a team together.
The main complaint that participants have about their Random Walks was price. As Settoon points out, ‘price, as you would probably suspect, is the most often cited as an area for improvement. The GBC committee works with World Strides to ensure prices remain in check. For example, 23 of the 27 trips increased in price by only $25 (< 1% of trip price) from the 2013 trip price. We also perform regular price comparisons with World Stride’s competitors to ensure we have competitive pricing.’ In regards to improvements for next year the main goal is to ‘increase participation’ so that even more students can experience a Random Walk and start their year off with a bang.
Reid Tileston is a second year at Chicago Booth and was a co-leader of the Belize Random Walk