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The Leader

The Fun Has Just Begun:
The NOLS D.C. Alumni Chapter

By Lindsay Nohl, NOLS Alumni Intern

Reprinted from The Leader, Spring 2003, Vol. 18, No. 2


The NOLS D.C. Alumni Chapter is off and running. After several years of occasional get-togethers to swap tales and socialize, some NOLS alumni in the area pulled together last fall to form an organized chapter that could provide a stable foundation for alumni activities. The call for committed volunteers to help the fledgling organization met with great enthusiasm, and now the group has started growing into something special.

The unofficial organizing committee includes six people that have the diversity of perspectives that is true to NOLS form. Janet Friedl (NCM 7/7/99), Anne Pollard (AOE 7/9/98), Andrew Clarke (WMT 7/3/00), Brooks Tucker (NCW 7/8/81; ADM 6/9/82; WSM 8/29/01) Aaron Rodehorst (AKW 7/4/00) and Kevin Ewing (NCM 7/18/90) had their initial meeting back in September, and they have been meeting monthly ever since, creating a vision for the new Chapter.

The goal of the D.C. Chapter, and every other NOLS Alumni Chapter, is to serve the needs and interests of alumni in their area within the framework of the NOLS mission. Their first task is trying to institute a well-publicized, regularly-scheduled social event every two months. As of late, they have been assembling at Buffalo Billiards, an upscale poolhall and restaurant located near Dupont Circle.

D.C. member Jonathan Stevens (BIO 7/9/71; MSC 12/20/72, AFW 7/2/02) has spurred another upcoming happening. He’s been active in assembling a group to attend the Banff Film Festival held at the National Geographic Society from April 9–12. Facilitating events like this is one of the central roles the Chapter hopes to play as time goes on.

In addition to regular social events (every two months), the committee has been actively planning one major outdoor event each season, starting later this spring. The Chapter hopes the various events will appeal to a diversity of ages and skill levels so that everyone feels comfortable participating in one event or another. Chapter participants also want to help connect area alumni via an email list-serve to set up smaller events like a trip to a local climbing gym or a local hike. Major event ideas in the hopper for 2003 include a Chesapeake Bay kayak paddling day, a technical skill day with some local NOLS instructors, and a naturalist-led hike in either the Shenandoah or George Washington National Forests. Additionally, the NOLS Alumni department will continue to sponsor a sailing reunion and seminar each year.

Another objective the committee has for the Chapter is much more inwardly directed: to create a stable infrastructure that will last for years to come. The organizing committee has been meeting for 2-3 hours every month to toss ideas around and create patterns of decision making for the future. They have also designed their own database to input various information about alumni they compiled from a new questionnaire they have begun handing out at events. You can find the questionnaire on the new website:

The group hopes that this will be an effective way to keep track of the many alumni in the area, even if they eventually leave the D.C. area. The D.C. Chapter, like other NOLS Alumni Chapters, communicates via an electronic list serve set up by NOLS. Anyone can subscribe or unsubscribe himself or herself at:

For the DC-Announce list, Kevin Ewing is the designated moderator who posts local NOLS alumni-related happenings. The discussion list, on the other hand, is an open forum for all subscribers to post messages pertinent to the group or regional location.


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