With the location of George Williams College nestled on the shores of Geneva Lake in Williams Bay, students and faculty take advantage of the land and water through programs of study as well as extracurricular activities. Through the outdoor recreation and leadership program, undergraduates incorporate study and leisure through classes focusing on outdoor skills and adventure education. Field work projects integrate outdoor activities including rock climbing, camping and hiking. Recreation majors as well as non-majors can take part in interactive classes such as kayaking and sailing, learning water sport skills and most importantly, team building.
Outside the classroom, students take advantage of lake sports including swimming, fishing and stand-up paddle boarding. Another popular pastime is bicycling through the area, taking in the beauty of the surrounding region and learning about the nearby communities. GWC provides students with free mountain bike rentals, including accessories such as helmets and bike locks. These daily rentals allow students to explore on their own or participate in group outings.
Director of Student Wellness and Leadership TJ Roberts organizes student rides, taking them through local neighborhoods and bike trails that are prominent in the Geneva Lake area. These rides not only teach basic skills, but allow students to challenge themselves, as trips can range from 2-28 miles depending on time constraints or activity level.
“I am a strong believer in biking as a metaphor for life,” said Roberts. “New obstacles and unique challenges will always enter your path, even if you have ridden the same route 100 times. If you let it, the obstacle can get the best of you, but if you leave yourself open to the possibility of change, you will adjust accordingly to successfully navigate the situation.”
Plans this fall include a 21-mile ride around Geneva Lake, lunchtime picnic rides to local towns including Williams Bay and Fontana, and experiencing local trails. “The White River State Trail is a great path for riders who are looking for a picturesque ride without the hassle of car traffic,” said Roberts. “This former rail line has a steady grade and some hidden gems along its route.”
As students become accustomed to biking, Roberts plans on taking advantage of trails in the Kettle Moraine area. “The John Muir Trail is a great escape for riders looking for pleasant scenery with a side of adrenaline,” expressed Roberts. “There is a skills course at the entrance for riders to warm up their reaction time. If I could, I would take students to these trails every weekend!”
For more information on adventure inside and outside of the classroom, visit gwc.aurora.edu/academics or gwc.aurora.edu/student-life.