Anna-Catherine Kueng ~ Assistant Editor
At the beginning of Sept., an email was sent to students inviting them to “join the Outdoor Leadership Program on these fun adventures and on-campus activities this month!”
Tim Slusser, Coordinator of Outdoor Leadership Programs, said, “Of the 19 events planned for the month of September, nine of them are new [for the OLP].”
On Sept. 19, there is a slacklining competition. According to the email, “Join us on the Dell for a slacklining competition. We will have independent judges and the top three finalists will receive prizes.” Slusser said, “Slacklining trains for balance and focus. Some people view it as similar to yoga. We have one that we stretch out in the Dell almost every other week and we are going to have a competition to see who is best at it and participants can win prizes.”
In addition to the slacklining competition, there are numerous on campus-events, including tree climbing on Sept. 24, rock climbing on Sept. 25, and glow ziplining on Sept. 26.
When asked which activity between the three is most popular, Slusser said, “It really depends. It changes week to week. We get more for ziplining because we do not offer it as much. We get a lot of students for tree climbing for students that are transitioning between classes because of its location on the Dell.” Rock climbing will be held at Moon Field, which is “the softball field by the main entrance,” explained Slusser.
As for off-campus events, there is a stand up paddle boarding trip on Sept. 21, a fly fishing clinic on Sept. 22, star gazing at Claytor Nature Center on Sept. 27, a mountain biking trip on Sept. 28, and a Spy Rock trip on Sept. 29.
When asked why the OLP is hosting a fly fishing clinic, Slusser said, “It was a different activity I thought the students would enjoy. We have a diverse student population and I try to provide trips for every sector of the student population.”
He went on to say, “The paddle boarding trip on the 21st is either going to be at Ivy Creek Park or Leesville Lake. [For the mountain biking trip], we have not officially decided on a location yet. It will either be Bedford County biking trail or another trail. It will not be more than a 30 minute drive from campus.”
Additionally, the OLP is encouraging students to participate in the AORE challenge beginning Sept. 16. According to an email sent by Slusser, “The AORE campus challenge is a Mother-Nature-meets-March-Madness competition with 98 schools from across the country going head-to-head for four weeks to see who can get the most people outside and active. The school with the most people outdoors wins.”
To participate, students need to download the official AORE app, create an account and register to U of L, log their outdoor activities, and share their outdoor adventures to social media. The challenge rules, according to the aforementioned email, are as followed: “The challenge runs from Sept.16- Oct. 13, and all submissions must be from within this time span. You can only submit 5 photos each day. The photos must have you in it (no landscape shots). The photos must be centered around the outdoors.”
If you are interested in learning more about upcoming OLP events, Slusser said, “We table throughout the week and we spread the table out throughout the whole campus, not just outside the dining hall. We also put flyers out, we send emails out through the Info Hornet account weekly and monthly, we have a Facebook and Instagram where we advertise, and I have an open door policy so students can stop by with any questions.”
The OLP office is located on the bottom floor of Drysdale, past Pete’s Place. You may also email Slusser at firstname.lastname@example.org.