BETHANY, W.Va. – Bethany College encouraged students to enjoy the outdoors Tuesday by canceling classes and offering a slate of activities designed to be entertaining and educational.

The day began with a campus cleanup during which about 60 students collected about two pickup trucks full of trash and recyclables on campus and along Route 67, said Jerry Stebbins, dean of students.

The event was held by the Office of Student Life and Greener Bethany, a student organization new to the college.

Greener Bethany organizer Tatum Dyar said the goal of the group is to educate and engage students in the ongoing discussion on climate change and environmental protection through eco-friendly, on-campus events, as well as to promote the development of an environmentally friendly infrastructure in the Bethany community.

Dyar, a senior international business and marketing major from Brazil, Ind., was also involved in creating a modern language scavenger hunt throughout the Bethany College Trail System. For extra credit in their language courses, students were invited to find and photograph the 20 items, such as trees, leaves, and waterfall, on the trail labeled in Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish.

“There was a lot of engagement from the student body, especially in participating with the campus cleanup,” Dyar said. “I think it just goes to show how much our students genuinely care about keeping our campus clean for everyone to enjoy.”

The college also celebrated the anniversary this week of the publication of Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” with an afternoon “walkshop” that set out from the Outdoor Classroom. Carson used the book, published Sept. 27, 1962, to raise concerns about the detrimental effects of overusing chemical pesticides.

Anna Edlund, chair of the biology department, shared a short reading form “Silent Spring” at the outdoor classroom. Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Tahirah Walker, Biology Professor Bill Hicks and Ian Nelson, a sophomore from Monongahela, Pa., shared their thoughts on Carson’s influence.

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Harald Menz, professor of world languages (German) and director of international studies, and Kimberly Lawless, assistant professor of social work, performed a song written by Lawless.

McKayla Martin, Sarah Sberna and Sarah Riedel, students in the Junior Honors Seminar led by Menz, offered guided trail walks from the college’s new trailhead. They also invited students to submit their best photos from along the trails into a competition.

The Student Activities Council hosted a cornhole tournament and a Kona Ice truck that allowed students to get free shaved ice treats. Tom Stewart and Bryce Rohrbaugh won the tournament after finishing second in a SAC event earlier this fall.

“It was awesome to see students using Get Outside Day to interact with their friends, take a break from their school work, all while being safe,” said Josh Lonero, of the Office of Student Life. “The students had a lot of fun with the cornhole tournament, and the Kona Ice truck was a hit.”

Get Outside Day was held in lieu of the traditional fall break as Bethany continues its efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.


Bethany College, founded in 1840, is the oldest private college in West Virginia. The Bethany experience focuses on academic excellence in the area of liberal arts and prepares students for a lifetime of work and a life of significance.