The Division of Student Affairs

Outdoor Pursuits partners with Community Standards & Student Responsibility and Career & Leadership Development Center

Campus Recreation’s Outdoor Pursuits program uses adventure based counseling and a weekend wilderness leadership development experience to collaborate with Community Standards and Student Responsibility and the Career and Leadership Development Center. Both programs are intended to engage students in healthy lifestyle choices and leadership training using the Outdoor Pursuits challenge program and adventure facilitators.

Students in violation of the university alcohol policy are required to attend an intervention program as part of their sanctioning process. Together, Outdoor Pursuits and the C.S.S.R. office developed a new program, funded by U-Fund, which uses the Challenge Program to take the place of the current intervention programming offered by Health and Recovery Services.

“Students going through the sanctioning process will be able to form a supportive cohort by experiencing a challenge program workshop that will provide them with a peer support group to avoid similar poor behavioral choices in the future,” said Dan Vorisek, director, Outdoor Pursuits. “Adventure based counseling has been around for decades and has been shown to be effective in a lot of different program.”

This partnership also creates development opportunities for O.P. student employees. “I want our undergraduate facilitators to learn more about facilitation by working alongside the professional counseling staff that will be part of this program,” said Vorisek. The first workshop is schedule for Nov. 2.

In its second year, Outdoor Pursuits alongside the Career and Leadership Development Center and the Pepsi Scholars program, have continued to develop their adventure education experience.

“Greg Bline, the PLS graduate assistant from last year approached Outdoor Pursuits to ask if we could put together a leadership development experience based in the outdoors,” said Vorisek. “Greg felt that the outdoor setting would be great way to help develop leadership skills in the Pepsi Scholars students and would also meet some of their scholarship requirements for leadership training.”

Using the leadership development objectives implemented by the Pepsi Scholars Program, Outdoor Pursuits hosted a weekend backpacking adventure to Zaleski State Forrest in W. Va. On this trip, O.P. trip leaders accompany the Pepsi Scholars to assist in leading discussions on wilderness travels as it relates to the scholarship development objectives.

“The ‘wilderness’ is analogous to the new environments that a leader must sometimes operate in, so it forces the students to make decisions without being completely familiar with where they are operating, like a new job, or leading a student organization,” Vorisek said. “Also, to travel in the wilderness you have to rely on your abilities, as wells the team, to complete everyday tasks and deal with uncertainties that can change your situation like weather, blocked trails, lost food, and injuries.”