University News

WIU's New York Trip Continues for 16th Summer

January 17, 2018

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MACOMB, IL – For the 16th consecutive summer, area residents will travel to New York City through a Western Illinois University initiative.

"The New York City Community Theatre trip started at WIU with the arrival of President Emeritus Al Goldfarb," said Kim McDaniel, Study Abroad adviser and trip coordinator. "He'd led a similar trip at Illinois State University and received a lot of interest from Macomb residents about continuing it here. His first day of work at WIU was July 1, 2002. We started planning the first New York trip July 2."

Fifty participants went on the inaugural trip in June 2003. The trip's popularity increased as participants related their experiences to others.

"When we first started, almost all everyone who went was from Macomb or nearby," said McDaniel. "Then, as people talked to their friends, we got travelers from other parts of the state as well as other states."

Interest remained high until after Goldfarb's retirement, when registrations began to decline. This year marks a rebound for the trip, McDaniel said.

"We reached registration capacity a full month before the deadline this year," she said. "This is the first time in several years we've filled the trip, let alone doing it so early."

Over the years, the popularity of the trip helped establish a scholarship fund for students planning to study abroad. Originally limited to students participating in faculty-led Study Abroad programs, the scholarships are now open to any student working with Study Abroad and Outreach. Nearly 100 scholarships have been awarded since 2008.

This success has led to plans for more community offerings through Study Abroad and Outreach.

"We wanted to use the successful model of the New York initiative to bring more trips to the community, including some to international destinations," said WIU Study Abroad and Outreach Director Pedro Bidegaray. "We will soon launch two more initiatives for 2018—one to Chicago and the other to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. By increasing the number of trips, we can continue to fund scholarships for students to study abroad."

For more information, visit or contact Study Abroad and Outreach at (309) 298-2504 or email

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