GriffinQuest returns from Zion National Park

Members of GriffinQuest hike in Zion National Park. Two of the hikes were the Narrows and Emerald Pools. The annual Fall retreat was with help from the Outdoor Program.  Photos courtesy Gano Hasanbegovic

Members of GriffinQuest hike in Zion National Park. Two of the hikes were the Narrows and Emerald Pools. The annual Fall retreat was with help from the Outdoor Program.  Photos courtesy Gano Hasanbegovic

From Sept. 18 to 20, students part of Westminster’s GriffinQuest went to Zion National Park for their annual Fall retreat.

With help from the Outdoor Recreation Program, Bibek Neupane, a senior with a double major in economics and theatre from Nepal, and Whitney Walton, senior international development major from Salt Lake City, are the GriffinQuest fellows this year and played a role in the planning of this year’s retreat.

“Every Fall and every Spring we go on a retreat,” Walton said. “I think that’s our favorite part of GriffinQuest. At least it’s mine. The Fall retreat is a whole weekend. In the past, we’ve been to Bryce National Park, Escalante and Goblin Valley. This year was Zion.”

The trip consisted of hiking and bonding with other students in the program. This Fall, the focus was on goal-setting and reflecting on where the students have been, where they are and where they want to be the same time next year.

GriffinQuest is an on-campus leadership group. First- and second-year students who apply in the Fall and are accepted are put into a “cohort.” These cohorts stay the same until graduation.

“It’s a really great opportunity for them to go mingle with people who are not just their cohorts,” Neupane said. “The entire GriffinQuest goes and the activities there are the same for everyone, and it’s just fun.”

Each semester has a specific focus of serving, mentoring and coaching, social justice, etc. Cohorts typically meet twice a month.

GriffinQuest is described, on the Westminster website, as “a unique four-year leadership program that allows students in a small cohort to explore leadership and enhance their college experience, focusing each semester on a different area of growth.”

Nathan Guyer, junior public health major from Bend, Oregon, was one of the students to go on the Fall retreat and has been with GriffinQuest since his first-year at Westminster.

“It was one of those things I just saw in an email or a poster and I was all, ‘Sure, why not?’” Guyer said.

According to Guyer, GriffinQuest is a group of people on campus who want to see students succeed and is a great avenue to put students in touch with people who are great friends and great supporters.

Cozy Huggins, sophomore public health major from Park City, described her experience with GriffinQuest as “home.”

Members of GriffinQuest pose in pools in Zion National Park. The annual Fall retreat was organized with help from the Outdoor Program.

Members of GriffinQuest pose in pools in Zion National Park. The annual Fall retreat was organized with help from the Outdoor Program.

“I have not met a single person in [GriffinQuest] whose heart is just not full of love and positivity and the passion to make the world a better place,” Huggins said. “I go there and leave and just feel refreshed.”

Neupane, a GriffinQuest fellow, is also an RA on campus and said that GriffinQuest has helped him talk to residents, conduct meetings and delegate more.

“It really has helped me be better as leader and as a team member,” Neupane said. “It’s in many ways that I can’t list. The coaching semester was mindblowing for me. As an RA, I had to do one-on-one meetings twice with every resident each semester. It really helped me to make it about my residents rather than about my job.”

The group is currently preparing for the Social Change Summit sponsored by GriffinQuest on Westminster’s campus. The theme for this year’s summit is “How to Move the World,” focusing on social movements. It is scheduled for Oct. 30, beginning with registration at 12:30 p.m.


GriffinQuest is an application based program and first- and second-year students can still apply by going to this link: westminstercollege.edu/apps/forms/index.cfm?form=465. Applications are open until Oct. 31.