Southwestern’s Outdoor Adventure Program will kick off the new year by taking twelve exceptional students on a highly-anticipated expedition to Mount Kilimanjaro on Jan. 1, 2024.

The expedition to Africa’s tallest peak will be led by seasoned explorer Branndon Bargo, assistant director for Outdoor Adventure. In an experience that combines physical and mental challenges with breathtaking natural beauty, Bargo and the students will scale the mountain’s 19,340-foot Uhuru Peak. The trip is also designed to foster personal development, team building, and cultural exchange.

The adventurous scholars include Claire Haughey ’24, James Vaquero ’25, Jihan Schepmann ’24, Keegan Hardy ’25, Abigail White ’25, Gage Bausman ’24, Camryn Sadlier ’24, Jillian Clack ’25, Blane Corekin ’24, Thira Schlegel ’24, Natalie Zequeira ’24, and Keanan Ngo ’25.

“I am extremely proud of the selected students for their dedication and determination to earn a spot on this challenging expedition,” said Southwestern University President Laura Skandera Trombley. “This adventure embodies the spirit of Southwestern, where students are encouraged to embrace new challenges and broaden their horizons.”

Organized by Southwestern’s Intramural and Recreational Activities Office (SIRA), preparations for the trip include a rigorous training regimen to ensure the safety and success of the participants. The trip will span January 1–13, 2024, during which students will trek through various climate zones, including lush rainforests and barren alpine deserts, before reaching the awe-inspiring peak. Along with climbing the mountain, the group will also engage with local communities, gaining a deeper understanding of Tanzanian culture. Following the Kilimanjaro expedition, the students will also take a safari through Arusha National Park.

For more information about the trip to Mount Kilimanjaro, please visit

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