A Breath of fresh air

outdoorclub

"There are more than 7,000 students currently enrolled at Oswego State, and there are more than 30 buildings—administrative, academic and residential—on the university’s main campus. Even with nearly 700 acres of scenic property, Oswego’s premises provide little chance to explore the truly natural.

"But for students like Sarah Olear, the opportunity to escape is frequently achieved.

""It’s hard to find places that have little human impact," Olear said. "Being outdoors is about appreciating the earth and what nature has to offer, all of its beauty and sereneness."

"Olear serves as president of the Oswego State Outdoor Club, an organization that sends members on hiking trips, river rafting tours and even sleigh rides.

"The club’s goal, according to its website, is to provide students with an opportunity to explore and to appreciate the "natural beauty" of the Northeast.

""We love helping people to love the outdoors," Olear said. "We hike, we climb, we swim, we run, we cycle and we have fun."

"Hiking was the group’s main focus over the past academic year, with members traveling to 11 of the 46 mountain peaks in the Adirondacks—all of which reach elevations of at least 4,000 feet—to the Shawangunk Ridge of the Hudson Valley.

"The group also participated in training exercises, including a Wilderness First Aid trip on Lake George, and helped to fund a rock wall for May day festivities on campus.

"Past activities have included trips to the White Mountains of New Hampshire, to Letchworth State Park—located along the Genesee River in Livingston and Wyoming counties—and to the Catskill Mountains.

"The Outdoor Club’s final scheduled event for the Spring semester is a whitewater rafting trip to the Black River in Watertown, N.Y., on May 8. Olear expects the group to bring 24 members to the Jefferson County attraction for an all-day trip, with expenses covered by Student Association.

""It’s lots of fun and everyone always enjoys this trip," Olear said. "The rapids are the fun parts. The rapids are when everyone has to work together to make it through in one piece. The bigger the rapids, the greater you have to paddle and listen to your guide and work together. It’s a really good team building activity. It’s also really exhilarating."

"Olear said she hopes the group will encounter class IV and class V rapids, which she described as "dangerous but more exciting."

"American Whitewater, a national non-profit dedicated to river conservation and enthusiasm, defines class IV rapids, on its website, as intense but predictable rapids for advanced rafters and class V rapids as "very violent rapids which expose [paddlers] to added risk."

"Under Olear, the Outdoor Club focused on activities that could be intimidating to participants; however, according to Olear, the organization’s officers for the 2011-12 academic year plan on focusing on developing skills—including fire-building, navigation and shelter construction—with new members.

"Membership with the Outdoor Club is free, easy and invited. Despite a philosophy that encourages members to escape the confines of developed society, the group is focused on developing friendships and making memories.

""People who love the outdoors are generally going to be the greatest people you have ever met," Olear said. "They are always polite, always nice and always there to do the same thing you are: appreciate nature…the people you hike with and the people you meet will become your friend fast."

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"There are more than 7,000 students currently enrolled at Oswego State, and there are more than 30 buildings—administrative, academic and residential—on the university’s main campus. Even with nearly 700 acres of scenic property, Oswego’s premises provide little chance to explore the truly natural.

"But for students like Sarah Olear, the opportunity to escape is frequently achieved.

""It’s hard to find places that have little human impact," Olear said. "Being outdoors is about appreciating the earth and what nature has to offer, all of its beauty and sereneness."

"Olear serves as president of the Oswego State Outdoor Club, an organization that sends members on hiking trips, river rafting tours and even sleigh rides.

"The club’s goal, according to its website, is to provide students with an opportunity to explore and to appreciate the "natural beauty" of the Northeast.

""We love helping people to love the outdoors," Olear said. "We hike, we climb, we swim, we run, we cycle and we have fun."