Students camp out for a trip to England
Cleveland, Tenn. was a mostly sunny, comfortable 69 degrees Monday afternoon Oct. 10, 2016, but for some students on Lee University's campus, their minds were in foggy England as students camped outside of the Humanities building in anticipation of signing up for Lee's England and Scotland cross cultural trip.
The walkway along the right side of the Humanities building leading to the front doors was littered with blankets, tents and hammocks strung between pillars. Lawn chairs were set up before tents creating makeshift patios.
The two week Global Perspectives trip to England and Scotland was the cause for the out-of-the-ordinary scene on Lee's campus, a trip students have been participating in for 20 years. Applications are given out on a first-come, first-serve basis.
"Given the fact that we do little, if any, advertising, it really is word of mouth that is responsible for the program’s popularity," said Dr. Robert Barnett, distinguished professor of history, who has been a part of leading the trips for the past 20 years. "Specifically, what people who have gone previously say about it."
Meg Ryan, a junior English education major, was among the students camping out. "Dr. Barnett has been out here a couple times this morning, he brought us coffee and donuts," Ryan said. "He's so passionate about it, and it just makes it fun to imagine being at those places with him and hearing about his experiences."
Catherine Agati, a senior at Lee University majoring in History, went on the trip with Barnett last year.
"The line this year is way more intense than last year ," Agati said. "We just had hammocks, but these guys have gone all out."
Students, both placeholders for spots and those actually going on the trip, chatted or studied textbooks as they waited.
From within her tent atop an air mattress, Lauren Sutherland, a junior English major, said she got to her spot at 7 a.m.
"Tomorrow, the doors open at 7 a.m. and only the first 40 people get the application you need to go," said Sutherland.
Sutherland and Ryan were a couple of the first ones in line for the application. Ryan said her sister going on the trip last year and how much she enjoyed it was what really interested her in the experience.
"They went to the Shakespeare theater and they saw 'Wicked,' " Ryan said. "My sister got lost last year, but made it back to the group okay. She has a bunch of tips."
Barnett and Dr. John Coats, professor of history, will be leading the trip to England.
According to Barnett, the students who go each year are the program's primary success.
Barnett and Coats have been leading the trip together for several years.
"We really work well together and share the same dedication to the belief that the program is important and that it changes the lives of those who do it," Barnett said. "Frankly, this is certainly his program as much as it is mine."
Barnett said above all it is a great time and a wonderful opportunity.
"I have no doubt that doing the trip helps students find employment, get into graduate and law schools and simply see the world in a new way. I think that’s especially important right now," Barnett said.
The group will be flying out of the Atlanta airport on a British Airways flight on Sunday, May 7.