John Benson

Sewanee Outing Program (SOP)

Belonging in a place is a funny thing. I look at all places as being almost spiritual. I love being outside, and I enjoy doing things in these landscapes. I love the topography and how we move through it. Getting through it by canoe, with your legs, or on a bike.

We all enjoy these type of activities solo, but it’s so rewarding to do them with others. A sense of belonging comes when you have a group of friends—when you do things together, you create community. That’s what the SOP provides.

Every time you’re new in a place, it’s tough. The variable there, though, is time. You have to put time and effort into a place. There are folks who want to meet you, but it’s important that the effort is mutual.