Student Activities sponsors free trip to Busch Gardens for students

Student Activities Director Kelsey Goodwin says student participation in sponsored activities is increasing


Students got to experience haunted houses such as the one pictured, “Demented,” where scare actors waited inside. Photo by Maya Lora, ‘20.

Isabel Chiodo

Over 100 Washington and Lee students traveled to Busch Gardens on Saturday, Oct. 20 for Howl-O-Scream in Williamsburg, Virginia. Students boarded two commercial buses – before one broke down on the way to the park – and enjoyed a night of horror and thrills, completely free of charge.

Howl-O-Scream is an annual, six-week haunted house event host- ed at night in the Busch Gardens park. Rides remain open while parts of the park are transformed into themed haunted house and scare zones. The park also boasts Halloween-themed shows, such as the adult comedy and musical performance, “Fiends,” that parodies the story of Frankenstein’s monster.

Student Activities Director Kelsey Goodwin sponsored the trip through her office. The transportation and admission tickets, which cost $90, were both included.

Isaac Rosenthal, ‘19, has been trying to plan this event since last year. Rosenthal is not involved with the Student Activities office, but he was hopeful that Goodwin would sponsor the event if he was able to get enough students to commit. He approached Hailey Glick, ‘19, one of Goodwin’s work-study students, for help.

“After talking with Hailey, I realized Kelsey was already planning an event,” Rosenthal said. “So then I just started talking to Kelsey and worked with her to gather people for two separate trips.”

Goodwin realized there were many students involved in the cast and crew of the fall musical, “Priscilla: Queen of the Desert,” who were interested in attending the trip, but would not be able to go due to scheduled rehearsals.

“So instead, I arranged a trip where we went the weekend be- fore,” Rosenthal said. “Kelsey kindly sponsored both events, transportation and everything.”

Four Priscilla actors, including Rosenthal, ended up attending the separate trip on Saturday, Oct. 13.

Both expensive trips took a lot of planning. Originally, Goodwin expected the trip attendance to be on a much smaller scale.

“We started out talking about this trip with Isaac and I thinking it would be maybe two ten-passenger vans,” Goodwin said. “I had no idea so many people would be this excited to go.”

Goodwin had to expand the size of the trip early in the planning process.

“The first day we opened up the list, the waitlist alone blew past 40 people,” Goodwin said. “So that’s when I knew there was enough interest in this trip to get an additional bus.”

At a university like Washington and Lee with high expectations for academics and extracurricular involvement, it can be difficult to get students to commit to a weekend activity. But Goodwin says this year has been different.

“I feel like this trip is reflective of a larger trend here at Washing- ton and Lee,” Goodwin said. “Every event that my office has sponsored this fall has been better attended than it was last year, hands down.”

This is Goodwin’s eighth year at the university. She says every year has shown improved student involvement, but this year’s improvement is unmatched. In an office where the goal is to bring the community together, Goodwin finds this participation rewarding.

“I think seeing the success of it this year is making me think maybe we should just make this trip an annual staple for W&L,” Goodwin said.