Students wishing to get off campus and explore the outdoors may find they face several challenges in the process. Students from out of state may not be familiar with the natural attractions Western Washington has to offer, and the price of gas and gear are rarely conducive to a student budget.

Outdoor Recreation is a student-run club that offers regular trips for Lutes to explore nature. Some of their past trips include white water rafting, hiking, spelunking, snowshoeing and skiing.

Formerly organized under ASPLU, Outdoor Rec is now overseen by the Athletics Department. The office is now located in the basement of Harstad Hall instead of the ASPLU office.

“It’s actually really nice, because now we have like, one central location where all of our stuff is,” senior Anna McCracken, personnel director of Outdoor Rec, said. “I’m really happy about it.”

Outdoor Rec’s budget hasn’t changed — it’s still approximately $39,000 per year. It just comes from the Wellness Fund now instead of ASPLU.

“The nice part about that is it allows us to subsidize a lot of our trips. Normally these trips would cost a lot more if we were having to break even,” McCracken said.

For instance, the most recent rock climbing trip Outdoor Rec went on cost approximately $200 per student, but participants only had to pay $30, senior Kelsie Leu, finance and operations director of Outdoor Rec, said.

Leu said one of Outdoor Rec’s goals for this year was to get more people going on trips, so at the beginning of the year they began planning mid-week trips and multiple trips per weekend.

McCracken said so far more than 100 different students have gone on Outdoor Rec trips.

McCracken also said Outdoor Rec is a great way to meet new people. “Every single trip, we always have at least someone who isn’t signed up with their friends — they don’t know anyone — so there’s always a lot of different people to meet,” she said.

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Alison Haywood studied Journalism and German at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA. Her hobbies include skiing, reading, traveling, blogging, and playing the piano and guitar. She served as the A&E Editor at PLU's student newspaper The Mooring Mast.

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