Pacific University’s Outdoor Pursuits (OP) program has been offering students the chance to explore the great outdoors for years. With spring semester just around the corner, students will once again be given the opportunity to venture away from their dorms and experience the world in new and exciting ways with over 35 different spring OP they can choose from. Backpacking, rock climbing, surfing and kayaking are just a few of the returning trips students will be able to take part in during spring semester. But this year OP is adding new white water rafting trips. “We just recently got the white water rafts, which were paid for by the Student Senate and launched the program this year,” Phil Friesen, director of OP said.
“We did a couple of white water rafting trips last fall, but we are hoping to do a lot more this spring.” In addition to planning out trips, Friesen and the rest of the OP team have been busy scouting new locations for adventures and working to create and bring to fruition an international OP trip. “It will be the first time we will have an international trip and it is something we are all very excited about,” Friesen said.
“Right now, we are thinking about Mexico for the destination.” Students will be able to sign up for the first inaugural international OP trip in 2018, in the form of a winter term course. According to Friesen, student participation at OP is at an all time high, doubling its participation numbers from 2012. “What we are really looking for now is to increase diversity on trips,” Friesen said. “That’s probably our number one goal this spring and going into next year, increasing the number of people who go on trips and trying to break down this stereotype that only a certain kind of person goes on outdoor adventure trips.
All of our trips are open to everyone and we want everyone to try them out.” All experience levels are welcome at OP and students can sign up for the trip or trips of their choice for discounted prices at the OP office located across the street from campus. Students can also sign up by calling the OP office. “The outdoors is a great place to connect with and meet other students and a great place to relieve some stress,” Friesen said. “The outdoors is the best antidepressant.”