Wednesday, June 8, 2016

London Adventures: Part 1

By Sarah Nott (Double Major: Psychology and Family Services) & Sam Topp (Major: Communicative Disorders, Minor: Leisure, Youth and Human Services)

The first two days of the Sustainability Capstone are packed full of amazing destinations. One of the perks about the first couple of days is that you have experiences with the entire group and the opportunity to have your afternoons free, in smaller groups. On our first day in London, the class had a filling breakfast at the Generator hostel and then proceeded to ride the Tube. Eric showed us how to swipe our Oyster Cards, which are essentially debit cards used exclusively for transportation around the city, and how to switch lines. He took us to see the Changing of the Guard, a tradition that takes place every day and draws many individuals from around the world. We were able to stand right in front of the front of the Buckingham Palace Gates, so we had an excellent view when the guards marched through, playing instruments and marching past our group.

After this, our class had the opportunity to split up and enjoy the different sections of London. Many of our classmates toured the city on the Hop On/Hop Off buses that offer numerous routes for sightseeing. This bus tour included major landmarks such as Big Ben, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, and more. Other opportunities included: partaking in a ferry ride, enjoying the London Dungeon, and going to Picadilly Circus. The London Dungeon tour is a mixture of theatre and history with a dash of haunted house. You will learn about important or influential historical figures, popular icons (think Jack the Ripper and Sweeney Todd). Picadilly Circus offers a grand selection of shops and eateries.

On our second day in London, the class was more knowledgeable about how to properly use the Oyster Cards and the underground system, so navigating was an easier experience than the previous day. On this day, the entire class went to the Royal Society, a group of prestigious scientists located throughout the Commonwealth as well as around the Globe. Members, or fellows, contributed knowledge to the Society in their attempt to understand the sciences. After this experience the group proceeded to ride the London Eye and obtain silly photographs. The large group then split into smaller groups. The groups explored the following places: a restaurant called the Anchor with ties to Shakespeare, the Natural History Museum, the Harry Potter walking tour, Kensington Gardens home to the Princess Diana Memorial, and Kensington Palace home to the Royals.

During our first group discussion we talked about Sustainability in London. The conversation began with the book the class read about Alexander Von Humboldt’s life and the contributions he made to the way we see nature today. Which lead to subjects about the sustainability the group had observed in London. The sustainability practices of London which were mentioned by the group included: more efficient ways to charge electronics, special turf to absorb toxins before the plants are contaminated, and separate cans for mixed recyclables and garbage.