GV’s ‘Outdoor Adventures’ program encourages exploration


GVL / Rachel Slomba

Grace Smith, Staff Writer

Grand Valley State University’s Recreation and Wellness program is currently promoting their Outdoor Adventures program to get students out and involved in nature. 

Aaron Rusch, Outdoor Adventures Student Leader, said the primary goal of the program is to unite nature-loving Lakers and give them the confidence and knowledge to explore. 

“(Outdoor Adventures) really encompasses gear rental, outdoor programming and the climbing wall,” Rusch said. “The overall mission is to empower and inspire the GVSU community through outdoor activities and based opportunities.” 

Outdoor Adventures meetups vary in location and time throughout the year, in hopes to appeal to a variety of students with different interests. 

Events vary in difficulty, spanning from multiple day hiking and climbing trips to exploring local parks. 

Rusch said Outdoor Adventures hopes to continue to expand their primarily hiking and climbing events to other outdoor activities. 

“When we provide students with these experiences, there’s a range between where everyone is super comfortable, but we want to push these students a little bit out of their comfort zone into new experiences so they can grow and build,” Rusch said. 

On Outdoor Adventures trips, student leaders like Rusch ensure students are provided with the necessary gear and transportation for events. On longer trips student leaders set an itinerary with all-inclusive travel and lodging fees.

Some of the more notable upcoming trips include hiking and climbing trips over spring break in Alabama and Arkansas, as well as ice climbing in Munising, Michigan. 

The group’s next meetup will take place on Feb. 6 at Pigeon Creek, where students will be able to partake in cross country skiing or snowshoeing. 

Outdoor Adventures also hosts educational workshops based out of the Ravines Center such as personal bike maintenance and wilderness first aid. Here, the program also offers outdoor gear rentals and free bike tune ups.

In addition to this, the program partners with other larger organizations to expand their outreach. 

Some of the noteworthy programs include Leave No Trace, National Outdoor Leadership School, Outward Bound, Student Conservation Organization and American Hiking Society. 

For those interested in going on solo adventures, Outdoor Adventures has outlined safe routes and locations for safely paddling, biking, hiking or climbing.

Later this semester Outdoor Adventures will be holding a month-long event for students called “Microadventure March.”

In March participants will get a bingo card to fill out by completing activities such as unplugging for 24 hours or visiting a new park. The more squares filled out, the more prizes they are eligible to receive. 

For more information students are encouraged to their website or contact Recreation and Wellness.