Earth Science Club: A Great Bunch!

Dayani Pieri


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Earth Science Club (ESC) President Magdalena Gorczynska said that her club at Northeastern Illinois University has been around for the past three decades. Today, it is one of the most active clubs on campus and consistently maintains contact with its membership.

Vice President Natalie Leibovitz stated that the academic club is affiliated with the Earth Science Department, but the group conducts many independent activities to fulfill its mission. The mission includes helping “to educate the public on geology and environmental issues of significance.”

“The club tries to do activities that bring together…all types of people,” Gorczynska said. This is confirmed by its multidisciplinary membership.

ESC conducts outdoor activities such as field trips that explore geology, trash cleanups and educational workshops. ESC Treasurer Yesenia Herrera also said that there are presentations by guest geologists from various organizations, such as the United States Geological Survey.

Opportunities are also available for students to network with geologists in the Chicago area by granting attendance to the Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists’ sectional meetings.

The club’s Annual Spring Break event is a hit with all members and they eagerly anticipate its coming to fruition. For a week, members camp in a geologic area and hike, exploring its geological history. This is significant, said Gorczynska, as learning is better accomplished when applying “knowledge from class to the field,” especially when we live in the city.

The group has visited the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee and the Ozarks of Missouri in the past two years. This way, “we try to involve ourselves in activities that promote our understanding of geology,” Herrera said.

“One of our biggest field trips will happen this spring break,” Leibovitz said. The group will camp at the Daniel Boone National Forest in Kentucky and visit the Red River Gorge Geological Area and Mammoth Caves. This is an opportunity for students to see “some amazing geological sites,” learn the art of function and survival in the field, and “get to know some great people,” said Leibovitz. This experience is believed to assist future geologists or create a spark and a newborn interest to pursue a career in geology.

Mani Valathur was attracted to the club for its commitment to help the community. He had the privilege of joining their Great Lakes Issues and Montrose Beach Cleanup and The Friends of the Chicago River cleanup.

“The club helps even the local cub scout troops to earn their geology badges,” Valathur said. Making a difference in the community with such activities not only transforms those at the receiving end and our environment, but also the individuals who volunteer.

The club also provides many opportunities for those who are not ideally outdoorsy. Activities include trips to museums and volunteer opportunities at schools. In the fall of 2012, members visited Warren Township High School in Gurnee, IL. The students were taught about the activities of the ESC, the expectations of college life, and advantages and opportunities in pursuing the geosciences. According to Leibovitz, “a hands-on rock identification lab” was also conducted at this location.

“The students attending the club will meet and get to know some great people who share a passion for the earth sciences,” was a linking thread that ran through all communications.

Nimbus Shrestha, a member who has participated in the club for the past year, said that apart of all the great activities they do, the most important decision for her to get involved was “really the people. They are,” said Shrestha, “A Great Bunch!”

Anyone interested in becoming a member should contact ESC President Magdalena Gorczynska by email at [email protected].