Christmas Comes Early to Outdoor Pursuits

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Outdoor Pursuits finalizes plans for new building

The Holidays are almost here, and Outdoor Pursuits has some big improvements on their wishlist. For the Outdoor Pursuits team, this year was filled with many new adventures—and a new face; namely, the program welcomed new Outdoor Pursuits Director Allie Talucci!

   To learn about the program overhaul, The Pacific Index spoke with Talucci, as well as Assistant Outdoor Pursuits Director and Voyages Program Coordinator Justin Hall, and the former Outdoor Pursuits Director of 13 years, Philip Friesen, who is now an Outdoor Pursuits faculty member. 

   Starting January 2023, The Outdoor Pursuits building located on 21st Avenue will be retired, and the program will make its way to a new location. The talk about remodeling Outdoor Pursuits has been going on for quite some time—roughly six years. The main reason for these changes is to make it easier and more efficient for students to engage with the program and utilize their resources—and thereby spend more time outdoors! Talucci and her staff’s goal is to get students to join voyages or related classes. Reflecting on the current building, Talucci appreciated the unique nature of the space and the collaboration that happens there between the academic and adventure elements of Outdoor Pursuits. It has allowed students to practice technical skills and gain confidence before testing themselves in the field. The staff aims to expand that space and create more opportunities for students to succeed.

   What is the time frame of the construction, and when will we see the final product? The first bit of exciting news is that the architectural renderings have been completed. As of right now, the staff is finalizing the bidding process and the contractor. In an ideal world, the construction should be done within six to seven months—before the start of the 2023 fall semester. In the meantime, they will be moving to a temporary location; where exactly is still in the works.

  Overhauling the entire Outdoor Pursuits program and headquarters is a job for many hands. The Outdoor Pursuits staff will be working with the President’s Cabinet, Director of Student Activities Steve Klein, and many other administrators and faculty of Pacific to fundraise and help bring the new facilities to life. Since the program has been an integral part of the Pacific experience for over 30 years, many alumni are also pitching in. In the new building, Talucci and her team are looking forward to having new kitchens for students to learn how to cook outdoors, new equipment to provide students with more options, and classrooms where they can hold Outdoor Leadership major classes.

   Talucci, Friesen, and Hall all expressed their excitement for the winter and spring term trips and classes, and they encourage all Pacific students to participate and take the opportunity to get outdoors. Spring trip sign-ups will open on January 1. In addition, there are courses available that are related to the Outdoor Pursuits program. The winter term, two-credit Wilderness First Responder Course is highly recommended by the staff, and it allows students to get certified through the Wilderness Medicine Training Center in just nine days. In January, they will be taking nine students to Chile for a three-week, fun-filled trip featuring backpacking, horseback riding, and cultural experiences. In the spring, Freisen will teach an Alpine Skiing class and a Snowboarding class that will head up to Mt. Hood on Fridays, so sign up now if you’re interested! The Outdoor Pursuits Calendar is filled with exciting spring semester weekend and midweek trips such as kayak pool sessions, snow tubing days, and indoor climbing. During spring break, Outdoor Pursuits is hosting a “new style spring break trip” as Talucci called it, for which students will head to the Oregon Coast. Their newest trip will be a staff/faculty kayaking trip at a lake or reservoir. As Outdoor Pursuits adds new trips and voyages, they will be looking to hire at least 20 new voyage leaders.

   This is an exciting project, not just for the Outdoor Pursuits program, but for all of Pacific University. The Outdoor Pursuits team is most excited about having a newly functional building closer to campus that will feel more like part of the university. — Ellie Ishikawa


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