Kicking the bucket: A DePaul bucket list

Kicking the bucket: A DePaul bucket list

Whether it’s falling in love, seeing a shooting star, or jumping out of an airplane, almost everyone has a few things they want to experience before they kick the bucket. The concept of the “bucket list,” or a list of things to do before one dies, comes from the 2007 Rob Reiner film of the same name. But the idea has taken off in a major way in the seven years since the movie’s release. Bucket lists are everywhere, and the term is synonymous for wild adventure and once-in-a lifetime moments.

The movement even spawned an entire social networking site,, allowing users to create their own lists, share them with friends, and upload pictures and videos of them living out their wildest dreams while scratching more off the list.

The onset of the new school year means there are even more chances to start marking items off your bucket list. For many students, Chicago is the largest and most culturally diverse city they have ever lived in—this means a wealth of opportunity for those willing to try something new.

The adventure bucket list

Walk across hot coals

Graphic by Carolyn Duff

With roots dating back to 1200 B.C.E., firewalking is one of the oldest known rituals still being performed today. Used as a rite of passage by countless cultures and religions around the world, the practice is relatively safe when done correctly. There is even a “Firewalking Institute of Research and Education,” which sends certified instructors across the United States to teach the proper firewalking technique for corporate team-building seminars. The stones used in this practice are proven to be poor conductors of heat. This means that the brief amount of time that it takes to walk across the fiery path will generally not be enough to cause as much as a blister.

Freefall DePaul

Photo courtesy of Erin Kibby
Photo courtesy of Erin Kibby

DePaul’s skydiving club, “FreeFall DePaul” is the perfect remedy to any thrill seeker’s bucket list. The club meets four times per year for trips to “SkyDive Midwest” located an hour and a half ’s drive from the city in Sturtevant, Wis. FreeFall DePaul currently receives a steady group rate of around $150 per person and is open to new and experienced skydivers alike. DePaul graduate Jordan Johnson helped revitalize the club during his sophomore year, later going on to become president, and jumping with hundreds of students in his three years with the organization. “One of my favorite things about running the club [was] taking people on their first skydive” Johnson said. “It’s so funny to watch them feel that adrenaline rush, it’s kind of extreme but also beautiful.”

Eat kangaroo meat

Graphic by Carolyn Duff
Graphic by Carolyn Duff

Produced exclusively in Australia, kangaroo meat is a fairly typical dish Down Under, but much harder to find in the U.S. Similar to deer in the U.S., kangaroos are extremely common in the region and would risk overpopulation if they weren’t hunted year after year. This means a lot less guilt when biting into your first delicious kangaroo burger. The meat is described as a cross between venison and buffalo with a bit of a gamey flavor. If you’re looking to dine on kangaroo in the city, “Chicago Game and & Gourmet” on North Ogden Avenue carries it alongside a variety of other exotic meats from around the globe, including alligator and antelope.

The local bucket list

Photo by Courtney Jacquin/The DePaulia
Photo by Courtney Jacquin/The DePaulia

Music festivals

Lollapalooza, Pitchfork, North Coast, and Riot Fest may have all passed, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start gearing up to rock another item off your list next year. Chicago boasts more music festivals than almost anywhere in the country, and each of these is completely worthy of a place on your city bucket list. There’s no feeling like singing along to your favorite artist with a crowd of more than a thousand people while admiring the Midwest’s most iconic skyline. Tickets go on sale for next summer’s festivities as early as winter. You’ll want to plan far ahead if you hope to make it to one of these premiere outdoor events.

Graphic by Carolyn Duff
Graphic by Carolyn Duff

Tilt! John Hancock Center

Ninety-four floors above Michigan Avenue is where you’ll find “Tilt,” one of Chicago’s newest attractions and a must for your city slicking bucket list, located at 875 N. Michigan Ave. Located in the city’s fourth-tallest building, “Tilt” is an observation deck that lives up to its name. The viewing box, capable of holding up to eight people, tilts forward to give visitors a downward facing view of the skyline from 1,000 feet above ground. First opened in May, the attraction is an architectural feat that goes beyond the traditional sky deck featured at the city’s iconic Willis Tower. There’s no view of the city quite like it.

_DSC0786The Wiener’s Circle

Located just blocks from DePaul’s Lincoln Park Campus at 2622 N. Clark St., the Wiener’s Circle is your standard Chicago hot dog joint with one major exception—during the late-night weekend hours, the hole-in- the-wall restaurant turns into a warzone. Employees armed with an arsenal of the most colorful language you’ll ever hear take aim for unsuspecting customers. These customers fire right back with a flurry of their own vulgarity, and the hilarity ensues. The Wiener’s Circle offers a laughably distinct dining experience. Late-night food enthusiasts owe it to themselves to take this verbal thrashing over a hot dog before they kick the bucket.

SGA’s Top 10

There’s no need to wait until your golden years to start working on your own bucket list. Right here at DePaul there are endless numbers of ways to start seeing and doing the things you’ve only ever imagined. Student Government Association President Matthew von Nida shares his “DePaul Bucket List” of what every DePaul student should do before graduation.

10. Devil Dawgs cheese fries
They’re overly indulgent and more than bad for your health, but you can’t say you graduated as a Blue Demon without ever having one ‘bucket’ of cheese fries.

9. The Vincentian Heritage Tour
One of the most transformative experiences I have had came from my opportunity to go on the Vincentian Heritage Tour. Every two years, DePaul’s Office of Mission and Values takes a small group of students on a spring break trip to Paris to walk in the footsteps of St. Vincent de Paul and learn about the roots of our university’s mission to serve the marginalized.

8. Local farmer’s markets
DePaul provides a unique balance between an urban environment and sustainability. All around our campus during the spring through fall, I have loved getting fresh local produce from markets near our Lincoln Park Campus.

7. Build your resume at the Career Center
DePaul is ranked among the top 10 universities with the most undergraduate internship experience. The Career Center plays a large role in providing students with the skills needed to get the coolest and most prestigious internships in the city.

6. Attend a production at The Theatre School
The world-renowned Theatre School at DePaul has put on some of the most amazing shows. No need to leave campus to catch one of their great productions at one of the top ranked theater facilities in the nation.

5. The DemonTHON Experience
DemonTHON is a dance marathon at DePaul that raises money for the Ann and Robert
H. Lurie’s Children’s Miracle Hospitals. They provide one of the most incredible student experiences at DePaul for a great cause—in 2013, they raised more than $200,000.

4. Blue Demon Week
Blue Demon Week has been one of my favorite times at DePaul. Instead of a homecoming, we have a week of Blue Demon pride where the entire campus transforms into a blue paradise with celebrations ranging from exciting basketball games to trivia to dodgeball tournaments to the Blue Demon Dance. You are missing out if you don’t throw yourself into this week’s festivities.

3. Cheer at DePaul athletics competitions
With a good number of our men’s and women’s teams dominating the Big East Conference this year, I’ve had such a great time cheering on my fellow Blue Demons at everything from track meets and softball games to the basketball games.

2. Community Service
DePaul University is known for its investment in serving the communities of Chicago and beyond, and that was one of the main factors that brought me here. Whether you are a community service scholar, volunteering with your sorority, or just serving the community on your own.

1. Join an organization on campus
The most rewarding thing I have done during my tenure at DePaul has been joining Student Government Association. DePaul has more than 300 student organizations, and that’s exactly where you will find your strongest family and community. I’ve gained my best friends through SGA, and I’ve had the most amazing experiences. I can’t imagine graduating without ever having been involved with student life.

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