Outdoor activities spark interest among students

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Pacific University students can go from snowshoeing on Mount Hood to canoeing on Hagg Lake, thanks to the Outdoor Pursuits Program.

Outdoor Pursuits gives students a chance to experience the outdoors through a series of trips during the school year.

“Within the last two years, we’ve doubled the number of student days, which means every student that has gone on a day trip counts as a student day,” Phil Friesen, director of Outdoor Pursuits said. “From 2012 to 2013 we had about 700 student days, and within the last two years, we’ve had over 1400 students days, which has been an enormous growth.”

But now they are getting more leaders as well.

“We have more staff, and some of that’s because we have the Outdoor Leadership minor to help train students and so more students can then qualify to lead trips,” Friesen, outdoor leadership minor director said.

One of the new voyage leaders, junior Rachel Fiegenbaum, was hired on Outdoor Pursuits staff the previous spring.

“Each member of the staff was so excited to go out, have fun and encouraged achievement and knowledge in the participants,” Fiegenbaum said. “The amount of positive energy made me want to be a part of their team. I am so thankful to play a part in what this program has to offer.”

Friesen said the staff looks forward to seeing more students on each trip.

“We’re always looking for ways to spread the word,” Friesen said. “We’re always surprised that a certain percentage of the campus hasn’t heard about us so we try to spread the word through print media, social media and tabling.

Outdoor Pursuits also hosts a GO WILD! Event the first Wednesday of school to spread awareness and “increase the diversity in outdoors,” Friesen said.

This semester, Outdoor Pursuits will also be offering stand up paddle-boarding day trips for the first time as well as a surf series led by Professor Aaron Greer.

“He’s a great professor on campus and awesome surfer,” Friesen said. “We’re doing a series made for beginners, where students will meet on Tuesdays evenings in September and go on trips each Saturday, and hopefully, learn a bit more about how to surf.”

Like the upcoming surf series, all of the other Outdoor Pursuits trips are beginner-friendly.

“Don’t let your hesitation talk you out of trying something new,” Fiegenbaum said. “Our staff is one hundred percent flexible with all athletic abilities and ensures everyone has a good time. Everyone has to start somewhere and often times, people are surprised by their own capabilities. If you never try, you’ll never know what you could accomplish.”


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