My name is Zak Silverman, and I served as director of On the Loose (OTL) from 2007 to 2008 during a time of expansion, along with Bryant Cannon PO ’06. We were the students that first proposed the new home for OTL and the hiring of a full-time faculty liaison, whose purpose was to serve solely as an enabler-educator for the student-run outdoors program.
In one proposal, I made sure to write:
“It will be important as we move along to remember that every advancement the club has made … has been the direct result of student energies, and that, more than anything, this is what makes On the Loose unique from those other outing clubs: It is truly owned and operated by and for the students of the colleges. Therefore all of the proposals listed will be ways in which the club could use administrative support, without jeopardizing its special character.”
A student-run outing club has long been one of the greatest resources of the Claremont Colleges. It is an institution nearly unique in higher education, affording students an opportunity to explore not only the outdoors but also the freedom and autonomy intrinsic to it. We are dismayed to read that OTL is no longer on the loose—that its student leaders no longer elect and hire themselves, that they have been pushed out of the space we lobbied for as a home for the club, and that students have lost some ability to reimburse themselves. Something extremely valuable is endangered.
Zak Silverman PO ’08