A new policy has recently been introduced to give students more freedom and more opportunities to hike at Woodstock.
This policy has given students the freedom to hike without a faculty member on campus and will hopefully increase the number of hikers at Woodstock. Nevertheless, this policy can only be implemented after Woodstock sees if a group of experienced hikers can handle themselves.
“As of right now, the policy is very strict and we need people who can actually handle themselves outside,” said Swapnil Jhajharia, Class of 2020.
With the implementation of this new policy, students can explore and go camping or be hiking at Midlands stream, Flagpole, Witch’s Hill, and almost anywhere else as long as it’s on campus.
Furthermore, The Hanifl Centre, an outdoor educational center near campus, has given students a chance to obtain a WFA (Wilderness First Aid) diploma to prepare them for the medical skills needed to help other students on hikes.
The purpose of the new policy is to change the current perception of hiking among students, many of whom do not engage in the outdoors.
“Hiking is such a waste of time. People would much rather chill out with friends or watch TV shows,” said Nitya Mahajan, Class of 2020.
Despite only attending hikes when mandatory, Jia Loomba, Class of 2020, finds hiking very beneficial and hopes there will be more compulsory hikes for students.
“I think it would be a good thing if Woodstock made it compulsory. As much as you don’t want to walk it is actually pretty good,” she said.
However, Anirudh Aggarwal, Class of 2020, is happy that non-hikers don’t come on hikes more often and hiking is not compulsory, as he often hears complaints and cribbing about the hike. He also finds hiking important as it gives him time to be away from all the noise and stay in solitude. “I think it’s pretty good that most people don’t hike for the hikers, because we get our own time,” he said.
The fact is that some students do actually participate in hikes often and would be happy if they made hikes compulsory.
In fact, Swapnil was very disappointed by the lack of involvement in hiking and the outdoors. He expected to see more involvement in hiking from students because of the many references to this on Woodstock’s website.
“One of my things that came into my mind when applying for Woodstock was that it would be connected to the outdoors, which is why when I came to Woodstock, I was disappointed. But now a few policies are changing, and I think that is for the best,” he said.
Before the implementation of these new policies, students had few opportunities to hike at Woodstock explaining, for many, the lack of involvement of hiking at Woodstock.
“Trips that need to be organized are led by faculty. A lot of times on the weekend, the faculty want to do work or spend time with their family,” said Mr. Tobias, UY science teacher.
This wasn’t as much of a problem with the male hikers interested as it is with the girls.
“For girls to be at hikes, there needs to be the involvement of female faculty members which often isn’t there,” said Mr. Mallik Arjun, Coordinator of Outdoor Education.
Timings are still an issue, however, as the only available timings for students to hike at Woodstock is the weekends: a time students would much rather spend relaxing after a tiresome week.
Together, these policies give students more opportunities, freedom, and preparation. Hopefully, this will get more people interested in hiking at Woodstock.
Photo courtesy of Dorinda Hardage