SigEp Blog

Phis Reach New Heights On A Trip To Great Falls Park

By Kevin Lo, College ‘16

One of the last things that many of us want to do is to wake up early on a Saturday morning, especially after a night out celebrating the grand occasion of a Friday night. But, that’s what a group of brothers did on October 26th. Seeing a bunch of guys, clearly not yet awake from their slumber, trudge through the cold morning to the front gates at 9 AM was an interesting, and somewhat impressive, sight. We boarded a dangerously large van and hydrated—to replenish for the night prior and to prepare for the events upcoming. This was all in preparation for a hike coordinated by Christian Chung (SFS ’15) at the I-can’t-believe-it-is-only-twenty-minutes-away-from-Georgetown Great Falls Park.

After a van ride of failed attempts at sleep and some brothers refusing to allow dormancy by blasting music, we arrived at the unbelievably scenic Great Falls Park in Virginia. Though the hike started as almost unbearably cold for a Californian like me, it became beautiful as the day progressed.

On the hike, in addition to the beautiful scenery, we saw amazing things that allowed us to change our thinking for the better. First, as we were surprised by the challenging terrain of the trail and subsequently moved slower than anticipated, we saw a 60ish-year old woman traversing through the boulders without a problem. She seemed so full-of-life and at ease that it made us realize that a hike with friends really is not the worst thing that could happen. Second, we saw a man with disabilities with crutches make his way through the very same path we took. Enough said.

One of the most important things we strive for in SigEp is personal growth through self-reflection, and in a bustling environment such as D.C. and Georgetown, it is sometimes very difficult to take a step back from life and to contemplate the events and happenings in our life. Every year, we organize multiple events designed to give us the opportunity to do the reflection that is so important in a person’s development. Surrounded by nature that was incomprehensibly beautiful, brothers were able to escape from their clubs, internships, social commitments, and academics to just relax and contemplate. For myself, I—as I often do during a time of reflection—thought about how lucky I was to be in the position I was in. To be at Georgetown and to be surrounded by men that I know will be my true friends for life, I sincerely appreciated where life has taken me. Life often seems to be going at a break-neck pace and SigEp has always provided a comfortable shelter whenever needed; this hike and bonding was no different.

Oh yeah, the tradition of going to Chick-fil-a with any excuse available was nice too.

SigEp Blog

Fall Retreat and White Water Madness

By Colin Walls ’16

This year’s fall retreat saw a trip to Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania for whitewater rafting. After an early departure Saturday morning, the day was spent on traditional retreat activities and sports. Didactic encounters went especially well this year, and the new Sigmas did a great job offering new perspectives to the circles. After an important and lengthy goal setting session, we continued our traditional activities outdoors. Following a long period of brotherly bonding, we returned to the cabins. Some brave brothers ventured to McDonalds in the bustling metropolis that is Uniontown, Pennsylvania at 2 am. After a successful raid of their chicken nugget supply, these brothers rejoined the rest of the group and spent a little time relaxing before getting some sleep. The next day started early and was complimented by a fantastic breakfast next to the river. Soon after, we were given life jackets, helmets, and instruction on how to whitewater raft and were quickly brought down to the river. In squads of four or five, brothers were given rafts to pilot without guides. This proved to be difficult for some rafts (Chung’s) and easy for others. Many rocks were avoided, but many more weren’t, and plenty of brothers tested their swimming abilities. The trip consisted of around 8 miles of river with a lunch break in the middle. We were lucky to get a picture perfect day and the trees were the best they would look all fall. The brothers tackled several class four rapids with help from the stalwart raft guides that we had chosen. At the end of the trip, everyone had had a full afternoon and the raft guide’s mediocre jokes were just the way to finish the day. After a bus ride back to the village, brothers split up and headed back to Washington. In all the weekend was a tremendous success, and it set the bar high for retreats to come.