Suffolk Outing: Bridging the gap between students and nature

Suffolk University’s newest aspiring club, Suffolk Outing, wants to reconnect students living in the heart of Boston to nature.

Club President Asma Akbar said she wants to bring a variety of outdoor activities to Suffolk students, from weekend hiking excursions to kayaking on the Charles River. These events will take place both in the Greater Boston area and in nearby states.

Akbar, a freshman politics, philosophy and economics major, said her upbringing in New Hampshire influenced her love for nature. To Akbar, there is no better escape than the great outdoors.

“I love just being outside and kayaking and different types of [activities], so I thought that since we live in the city, we should have the opportunity to do those things as well,” said Akbar. “It’s just a really nice thing to escape to the outdoors after being in the city for a long time.”

Shannon MacArthur, secretary of Suffolk Outing, attributed her experience on Suffolk’s track team to her involvement in the new club.

“I’m really into getting outdoors and have the privilege to do it almost every day with the [track] team. We so often get the chance to travel to meets and I’d love to bring [outdoor] travel to more students at Suffolk,” said MacArthur, a freshman history and literature major.

Akbar said she wants the club to be more than just an organization for students, and inclusive to everyone, regardless of their experience with nature.

“The general goal is to kind of create a community of students who are experienced and non-experienced in outdoors-y types of events and activities,” she said. 

Giving students an escape from the bustling city is the primary objective of the club, said MacArthur.

“Sometimes, being in the city can be overwhelming,” said MacArthur. “We want to encourage students to see beautiful places […] and de-stress outside of campus.”

Akbar said that while the club is meant for students to have new experiences outside of the city, it also emphasizes the role nature can play in mental wellbeing. 

“I think [getting outside] is very important for mental health, as well as just to experience the outdoors,” she said. 

Akbar reflected on quarantine during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and said many used it as an opportunity to get more immersed in nature. This mindset is one she is hoping to return to students.

“I know during quarantine, lots of people took walks and got outdoors, and now that we’re back into our regular schedules, we don’t have that time to kind of escape,” said Akbar.

Looking to the future, Suffolk Outing wants to offer seasonal outdoor events, such as camping and skiing, so students can reconnect with nature no matter the weather.

The first meeting of Suffolk Outdoors will be held April 4, and students can find a link to the interest form and more information on their Instagram @Suouting.