Outdoor Programs gains national spotlight

Appalachian State University's Outdoor Programs has been recognized as a national leader in collegiate outdoor programming.

The Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education (AORE) awarded Appalachian’s Outdoor Programs with the David J. Webb Program Excellence Award at the recent National Conference held in in San Antonio, Texas.

The award is presented annually to a non-profit outdoor program which has made outstanding and noteworthy contributions to, and achievements in, the field of outdoor recreation and education. The Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education is considered the definitive association focused on university outdoor programs. Each year, ACORE presents this national award to the institution which best represents the values of the association.

"Being selected by our peers is quite flattering," said Rich Campbell, associate director of Outdoor Programs. "It's really a testament to our student staff. Their commitment and skills are top-notch and we rely on them to implement so many of our programs and services. To be recognized among universities of all sizes, nationwide, across all categories is really an honor for us. We strive every day to be the best that we possibly can, and to be the program recognized by AORE in 2011 is humbling and exciting."

Student Involvement

Outdoor Programs' mission is "to promote discovery through student-powered adventure" and its core values include diversity, adventure, education and development. In the summer of 2011 Outdoor Programs led its first "Source to Sea" program where students paddled a single watershed from its source on Grandfather Mountain to the Atlantic Ocean. The program also completed its seventh month-long expedition to New Zealand. Last year, the program received $10,000 from the Polartec Challenge Grant. That money is being used to provide scholarships for students who cannot afford Outdoor Program trips and services, to extend the instructor development program, and expand environmental stewardship programs.

Outdoor Programs strives to minimize their environmental impact by practicing "Leave No Trace" environmental ethics, preserving green spaces, minimizing waste, incorporating service, planting trees, purchasing carbon credits where appropriate and emphasizing reduce-reuse-and-recycle practices.

Regular programs for students include skill-based clinics, challenge course team-building activities, rock climbing, paddling and hiking, as well as overnight, weekend and semester break programs.

Community Involvement

In addition to serving the needs of students at Appalachian, Outdoor Program also serves the Boone community in these ways:

For more information on events and a full listing of trips, visit the Outdoor Programs Calendar at http://op.appstate.edu/calendar.

Photos provided by Outdoor Programs.