Hello, my name is Casey Urban, and I am a first year student in the IDEAS program at Lehigh University this fall, and will be making frequent blog posts about my experience. For my major I will likely be integrating chemical or biological engineering and something in the natural sciences arena, yet that is all subject to change. The benefit of being in this program is that the options for integration are endless, so thankfully no one expects an IDEAS student to know for sure what they want to do just yet.
The club selection at Lehigh seem limitless and overwhelming—at the club fair students sign up for groups that catch their eye, and afterward students can decide the degree of involvement that they wish to have. One group that caught my interest was the Art, Architecture, and Design Club; in high school I had taken many art classes and for a while considered minoring in art in college (the option for which is still open of course). Keeping up with individual passions outside of the academic curriculum is encouraged, especially as an IDEAS student; with so wide a range of interests, and so many avenues available, it is important to not get stuck in one train of thought and activity.
The club hosts group art projects (fun things like painting and tie-dying), as well as takes trips to art museums, sculpture gardens, and other areas of artistic interest. There is a “First Friday” event on the first Friday of every month at the Banana Factory Arts Center in South Bethlehem (a short walk off campus), which is a free open house of the art galleries of local artists. Visitors are welcome to walk through the three story building at their leisure, and have the opportunity to meet the artists in person, stepping into their studios and discussing their passions with them firsthand. It is a nice opportunity to venture off campus with a group of people from Lehigh who enjoy similar things and to see a part of Bethlehem that might otherwise remain unknown. This was the trip taken on Friday September 4, and the students really enjoyed being able to take part in this outing. Each club at Lehigh offers many ways to get involved in and off campus, and serve as ways to make students feel like not only a part of the Lehigh community but of the Bethlehem one, as they simultaneously involve themselves in an area of life that they have an interest in.