Calvin College

CALVIN - Minds in the Making

Strengthening Liberal Arts Education by Embracing Place and Particularity

Case Study

Using walking and biking tours to connect students to place


Connecting students to the Grand Rapids community is a key outcome to both the walking and biking tours that have been developed at Calvin College.  The tours that are already in place offer students one means by which they can learn more about their communities as well as a way in which they can become involved.  Each of the tours examine how many of the challenges described in this paper are inter-related as well as how the city of Grand Rapids is addressing these issues.  They also encourage students to examine these issues in a physically active manner, modeling healthy behavior for the future. 

In addition, it is also important for liberal arts colleges to help model the process whereby students can connect wherever they may settle after graduation. Getting student physically active (walking and biking) is an important lesson to teach students not only for their long-term physical health but also as a way to explore and get to know the communities in which they live.  From this standpoint these types of tours could easily be replicated in other locations, capitalizing on the unique resources of any community in which the tours were initiated. 


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