Changes to alternatives

Changes+to+alternatives

Photo from ASL.org

Maya Ariburnu and Michael Flaherty

Alternatives will start on October 9, later than in past years. When planning Alternatives this year, there were many factors the administration had to take into consideration such as conflicting academic events like the SATs and religious holidays, like Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

Director of Student Life James Perry believes that this is a more significant adjustment than usual, but explained that the change was to accommodate students. “It’s a question of avoiding [known conflicts] and then looking at everything else in the calendar and kind of seeing where it fits,” he said.

The greatest impact of moving the departure date back is trips to colder climates are being cancelled. One of the Alternatives that ran last year which is unable to run this year is Extreme Norway: Discover Glaciers & Fjords. “The last week they could run [the trip] was the last week of September. If we went in October… it was too cold and the lakes would freeze over,” Perry said.   

Chloe Chace (’20), who went on the Extreme Norway trip last year, believes that the Alternatives program will suffer from making this cut. “Trips like Norway and Iceland were so unique and such a cool opportunity for high schoolers, especially since we’re living in Europe,” Chace said.

She believes that having the trip as a freshman was especially impactful because an Alternative with “such extreme activities” allowed her and her peers to “develop a stronger bond with students from other grades.”

Grade 10 Dean Jennifer Craig, who also went on the Extreme Norway trip last year, feels similarly to Chace about the trip. Craig enjoyed the trip and hopes that it returns in following years, especially “for people who love the outdoors and feel freed in the outdoors,” she said.  

Other trips such as Hiking in the French Alps and the boat cruise from Helsinki to St. Petersburg will not be running either, due to this year’s timing. In the past, students like Ali M Ahmed (’18), who went on the trip to the French Alps, enjoyed these alternatives. “We got really exposed to nature and it’ll be sad that a lot of people won’t be able to do it.”

Another change that occurred this year was an increase in trips that are based in the U.K., primarily serving as a safety net for students who have problems leaving the country. “There are always a couple of kids who at the last minute have some weird passport issue,” Perry said. “We don’t need eight U.K. trips.”

Perry hopes to offer a new approach to the entire planning process for future trips. The administration is going to reconsider what Alternatives mean after this year by gathering a group of students and faculty to discuss the future and potential improvement of the program.