The Pacific Index

Program expands to meet growing student interest

Holly Bartholomew

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Outdoor Pursuits (OP) is a staple of Pacific University, offering their services each year to students, faculty, staff and the entire Forest Grove community. With quick and easy access to a number of outdoor adventures and gear rentals, OP remains the destination for those who love to explore, be outdoors or for those who simply need a break from campus life.

Some of the most popular recurring OP trips include sea kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, rafting and climbing. In addition to the numerous outdoor trips OP hosts throughout the year, they also offer bargain rentals on camping gear, ski and snowshoe gear and climbing equipment.

Additionally, OP has classes students can take for credit culminating in an Outdoor Leadership minor. OP also runs a bike rental program, which offers students free daily bike rentals.

“Outdoor Pursuits does so much for Pacific students,” OP Director Phil Friesen said. “We truly believe that nature has the ability to heal, help us grow and re-energize us for the work we need to do here at Pacific University to be successful in life.”

According to Friesen, though the outdoors are great, the true joy of OP comes by sharing exploration and adventure with others.

“We do this work because we want to transform students’ lives through outdoor adventure,” Friesen said. “We think going into nature is a fantastic way to get to know yourself and the people that are on the trip with you.”

Passion for connecting people through nature falls directly in line with OP’s mission to, “inspire a spirit of growth and exploration by humbly and skillfully guiding others on outdoor adventure trips that empower, challenge and connect all people to nature and each other.” Students’ love for OP is apparent in its overall growth in the past several years.

According to Friesen, last year OP took twice as many students on trips as it did four years ago. This year, OP is offering more trips than ever, including its first international trip which is set to take place January 2018. OP will be leaving the United States for the first time with a winter term rafting class in Mexico.

Thrilled with its recent success, OP is always happy to bring new students into the program.

“Everyone, and I do mean everyone, is welcome to become part of the OP family,” Freisan said. “You can be part of OP by going on trips, renting gear or being a leader for us.”

Students interested in becoming leaders with OP can fill out an online application found on the OP website. The program has work-study and non-work study positions to fill each fall.

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Program expands to meet growing student interest