By Spencer Peters
While I was studying abroad in Rome last year, I often travelled to other countries on the weekends. While I was in Paris, Barcelona, or Naples I wouldn’t do what is considered the American tradition of booking a hotel room and stay the night alone. I would instead walk up to the door of a hostel I found on Hostelworld.com or some other hostel website and pay for a bed. Sleeping in a room with people I didn’t know wasn’t as big of a shock to me as it was to some of my travelling companions, as I used to sleep in a cold dorm during my freshman year at Wabash; however it did take some getting used to. Because of my choice to stay in a hostel, I can honestly say that I had more fun everywhere I went, learned more about the culture of the place by meeting fellow travelers, and I also saved A LOT of money by choosing the option. The moral of my introduction is: by opening up your mind to possibilities outside the norm, you can often benefit much, much more.
This was the purpose of the Denver Trip that I and three other Wabash men made this Fall Break: to increase awareness of an alternate housing program for Wabash Students, namely ‘Bash Bunks. ‘Bash Bunks is a couch-surfing program put on through the Career Services department at Wabash College. The staff has built an extensive database of alumni and friends of the college that are located all around the U.S. and some even in Europe. A student can access the network and send a request for housing to a specific alumnus in a specific location for some amount of time. The reason for this visit could be many: from a job interview across the country to med school visits.
Alex Amerling, Ian Webb, Justin Taylor, and I set out from Crawfordsville on a Wednesday afternoon with our eyes set on St. Louis, MO and the home of Jim Dyer and his family. Jim is an alumnus that works at ScottTrade and is listed on the ‘Bash Bunks network. We arrived at his home and he had nothing but hospitality for us. He fed us dinner and let us interview him for our cross-country excursion. Upon waking up, he had a full breakfast spread for us before we had to leave and make our way to Denver. Staying with Jim was much better than some unwelcoming hotel room and it also was at no cost to us! Example 1 of how great the ‘Bash Bunks program is!
After leaving Jim’s, we had a LONG day of driving before we reached Denver and the home of Tony Caldwell. Tony is a law student in Tucson, AZ but until recently lived in Denver, CO. He still had a house there and he offered it up for housing to the four of us for two nights. The house was spacious, clean, and homey and the perfect place to stay while on a professional visit. The house was right on the line for the subway and was close to every neighborhood in the city.
While in town, the four of us met with alum Stephen Abbott and got an interview about his thoughts on the program as well as other career related topics. The goal of our trip was to increase interest and awareness in the ‘Bash Bunks network and I think we accomplished that, both from a student and alumni perspective. Hopefully, through our trip and our social media documentation of it, we gave the Wabash Community something to follow and provided more information about a great program that can and should be utilized by both alumni and students.