SPB hosts New York trip

Musicians ranging from Frank Sinatra to The Velvet Underground to Jay-Z have sung about its sights, sounds, and citizens. Wilt Chamberlain and Stephon Marbury honed their basketball skills in its world-famous Rucker Park. Its skyline is massive, with shimmering buildings recognized throughout the world.

New York City has a unique culture that can only be experienced through a visit to the city.

Over Nov. 6-8, 160 Oakland University students, including representatives from the Student Program Board and the Center for Student Activities, got to see the city.

One thing that seemed to attract students was the low cost of the trip. For $125, students received transportation, a hotel room, two 24-hour subway Metro Cards, and a CityPass ticket booklet.

Included in the booklet were tickets to the Empire State Building Observatory, Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island ferry tickets, and passes to various museums in New York City.

“I had never been to New York, and I wanted to experience something new,” said junior Alex Demare. “It was a really good price for everything we got.”

Price wasn’t the only factor, though. After the 11-hour bus ride to the Big Apple, some students were looking for a hiatus from scholarly activities and work-related commitments.

“I had just gotten through with my mid-terms, and I needed a break from learning about kidneys,” said junior biology major Aaron Hill. “I have always loved the city of New York, as well, and I can’t imagine living anywhere else after college.”

Hill had been to New York before for a spring break trip, but still was amazed on the recent excursion.

“I have been to NYC before, and it is never what I expect it to be,” Hill said. “I have stopped trying to expect things when I visit. The things that make New York so great aren’t things you can plan ahead for.”

The trip also allowed for newly-formed friendships to grow even stronger. Shaina Dobbs and Jennifer Hite, both juniors, had met only four times before signing up for the trip, but the two had memorable moments in the Big Apple.

“The first night we were there, we went out to a Mexican restaurant; there were maybe 10 people in the entire place when we got there,” Dobbs said. “They ended up serving us until 5:30 a.m. and even taught us how to salsa dance.”

With the exception of departure and arrival times, students were given free reign when it came to choosing which sights to visit in the city.

Some made plans while others simply let their schedules play out as the days went on.

“We had made plans, but they all got changed at the very last minute,” said junior and SPB member Jonathan Jenkins. “One thing we planned to do, and did do, was going to Brooklyn. We went to the Brooklyn Museum, where they have free art programs and entertainment on every first Saturday of the month. There must have been 2,000 people there.”

When deciding what cities to travel to, the SPB knew that New York would be an instant hit with the student body. The success of the decision was made evident as soon as tickets went on sale.

“The reaction was overwhelming,” said Amanda Vanderford, SPB chair and senior. “We sold out all the tickets in just two days, and we actually had to add a third bus. We were looking to add another bus but it was going to be too expensive.”

Tickets for the trip went on sale in early October, and were still being requested up until the week of the trip.

Possibilities for future destinations include Toronto and Atlanta, but a decision has not been officially made yet.

With such a positive reaction to their choice of New York City, SPB is confident that OU students will likely be excited with whatever destination the SPB decides on in the future.