Urban Passage Orientation Site

Overview and Sample Schedules for Urban Tracks: Downtown and Woodlawn

Wheaton College is a brief train ride to Chicago, America's Second City. Passage invites students to start their Wheaton journey by learning about Chicago's diverse culture and history. Students may select from the Downtown or Woodlawn tracks.

The Downtown Track will take you right into the heart of the global city of Chicago. Students can participate in a range of urban experiences from kayaking to exploring public art and architecture and visiting neighborhoods representative of the richness of Chicago's ethnic diversity. With small groups of peers, you will engage multiple facets of the city, from the skyscraper-stacked lakefront to historic neighborhoods with multigenerational businesses, restaurants and communities, and a little bit of everything in between. Through the lens of Christian faith, you will engage topics like immigrant and refugee experiences, wealth and inequality, and flourishing in urban places as you form close friendships to start your Wheaton College experience. 

Here is what a day spent on the Downtown track could look like:

Time Activity
7:15 Breakfast
8:00 Travel to the Chinese American Museum
Morning Tour the Chinese American Museum of Chicago
Visit the Ping Tom Memorial Park
11:30 Eat Lunch and Reflect on Morning Activities
1:30 Walking Tour of Chinatown Neighborhood
5:00 Dinner at a Chinatown Restaurant
6:00 Book Discussions
7:00 Discussion Groups and Reflection
8:30 Free Time in Common Areas
10:30 Head to Bed & Sleep

*Approximate schedule provided; subject to change.

The Woodlawn Track will take you right into Chicago's southside, where you will reside at Wheaton's Urban Studies facility located in Chicago’s Woodlawn community, historic home of Emmett Till, Lorraine Hansberry, and Jesse Owens. Dedicated to community partnership, this track will connect you to organizations that minister in the Woodlawn neighborhood. With small groups of peers, you will engage with topics of race, justice and urban spaces through the lens of Christian faith. You will enjoy proximity to the University of Chicago, the future Obama Center and Library, and delicious food from all over the world, as you form close friendships to start your Wheaton College experience.  

Here is what a day in the life could look like on the Woodlawn Track:

Time Activity
7:00 Breakfast
9:10 Attend Church at a Local African American Congregation
11:30 Lunch & Discussion
1:00 Walking and Driving Tour of Woodlawn Neighborhood
Exploring historical landmarks and prominent figures who came from or influenced the neighborhood.
4:00 Free Time
5:30 Dinner Catered by Local Business
7:00 Small Group Discussions
8:30 Free Time on Site
10:00 Head to Bed & Sleep

*Approximate schedule provided; subject to change.

Location, Accommodations, and Food for the Urban Track

chicago skyline


The Downtown track will base near the central loop area of downtown Chicago while the Urban track will stay in the Woodlawn neighborhood, the same location as Wheaton in Chicago.

Urban Passage Accommodations


At both locations, students will stay in rooms with ensuite bathrooms along with 6-8 fellow first year students.

students in chinatown


Urban Passage uses a creative strategy for meals that includes: packing lunches, catered meals, dining hall meals, and eating at local restaurants.  

Passage Registration Opens January 5, 2024 


To all those who might have reservations of attending Urban Passage like I did, know that God used Passage to confirm Wheaton College as the right choice for me. You will thrive no matter what your background or personality type is, and Urban Passage is exactly that, the Rite of Passage to a transformational experience at Wheaton College. Let's go!" — Hunter James Benson '23