Finding a Balance: Outdoor Pursuits Trips Provide an Escape for Students During Spring Semester

A week of sunshine and 70-degree weather in April; a rare luxury for most Oregonians at this time of year. All across Pacific’s campus, students actively enjoyed the various spurts of warm weather throughout the past two months, from playing spike ball and tanning in the lawns to participating in their Zoom classes from the tables outside of the UC.

Sophomore Makenna Sawyer joined the Stand-Up Paddleboard Series, hosted by Outdoor Pursuits on April 18 at Hagg Lake, which allowed her to embrace the warm weather, test her balance, and get away from the stress of the semester.

Sawyer was inclined to go on this trip in particular because she had never been paddleboarding before, despite being a Coloradan, and she wanted to gain experience in a new outdoor activity. 

“I have not gone on an Outdoor Pursuits event before because they’ve usually conflicted with sports schedules, but I’ve always wanted to go on a trip, and I am very thankful this trip was my first experience,” Sawyer said. “I couldn’t think of a better way to spend a weekend than out on the lake either.” 

As with most activities on campus, COVID has impacted the procedures and abilities of Outdoor Pursuits by limiting availability and possible trips. Throughout the spring semester, they have been able to compromise with the limitations and follow through with some popular trips.

“We of course had to wear masks on the van and while we were setting up, but as soon as we were about to get into the water, we took them off and remained distanced for safety concerns,” Sawyer said. “I don’t think it affected my overall experience though.”

Despite the COVID-19 concerns, Sawyer’s experience was positive and brought about excitement for her ability to participate in more trips in the future. Not only did this trip allow her to enjoy the warm weather and learn a new activity, but it also gave her a social connection with other people who went. 

“I am most certainly going on more trips in the future. I’m an outdoor enthusiast at heart, so it’s great to find others to go out with and do things with, and maybe even try something new,” Sawyer said. “In my experience, it’s been hard to find others to go with, so it’s nice to have outdoor pursuits and the trips they have.” –Chandler Fleming

Photo: Sophomore Makenna Sawyer challenges herself by doing a plank on her stand-up paddleboard during the SUP Series with Outdoor Pursuits on April 18. (Makenna Sawyer)

Chandler Fleming
Production Manager

Major: Multimedia

Hometown: Parker, Colorado

Hobbies: Lacrosse, volleyball, cleaning, organizing, working for Dutch Bros

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