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Northwestern University

The Humanities Plunge

person inking line drawing

Second City. The Lyric Opera. The Museum of Contemporary Art. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Chicago’s music, theatre and art venues are a veritable feast for the culturally inclined. 

During their spring break this year, 27 Northwestern students experienced the best of that banquet by taking the Humanities Plunge. The week-long program featured museum visits, backstage tours and lectures by experts in their fields. 

The students did more than just observe the work of world-renowned artists. They tried their hand at botanical drawing at the Chicago Botanic Gardens (pictured) and improvisational comedy at the Second City. 

Between cultural outings, the group dined at ethnic restaurants throughout the city, from the Ethiopian Diamond in Edgewater to the Turquoise Turkish Restaurant in Roscoe Village. 

The Plunge was open to all Northwestern undergraduates, regardless of their school or major. Virtually all of their costs were covered by Northwestern’s Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities. Students earned a half credit for their participation, and were required to write several blog posts and a reflective paper about the week. 

“It was a terrific experience, and everybody was in great spirits the whole time,” said Tom Burke, assistant director of the Kaplan Institute. “Based on our success this spring, we definitely plan to repeat the program next year.”

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