Getting into High Gear with Recreation

Amongst the stress of heavy coursework and midterm exams a steady calm can be found in the Office of Student Involvement’s (OSI) Recreation Program. The OSI Recreation Program offers students a chance to get away from stress as well as thrive both physically and socially through outdoor trips, free fitness classes, equipment rentals, and more. With a new team full of diverse experiences and skill sets, this year’s outlook appears to be promising and is largely due to the staff’s leadership and expressed excitement to share the outdoors.

Manuel Mendoza is this year’s OSI Outdoor Recreation Intern and is an important character in planning and leading recreation trips. A senior who is an earth and environmental science major and zoology minor, Mendoza appears at ease leading the team through the wilderness and beyond. “My favorite part about OSI Rec is watching the look on a participants face when they cross an item, sometimes one they never thought they would, off their bucket list” said Mendoza. “Helping individuals reach and exceed their goals is undoubtedly one of the most fulfilling experiences one could ever have.”

As a key member of the recreation team, Mendoza can be found in some part of most every outdoor recreation event. However, it was not always that way for Mendoza. For his first two years at WSU Vancouver, Mendoza said he was a typical uninvolved student, simply churning from the parking lot to the classroom and back to the parking lot every day. After a friend recommended that he get involved in recreation, Mendoza found himself investing in the trips and soon enough he found himself in recreation leadership.

Mendoza was not the only person who had a change of heart in the recreation office. Nathan Hall, a junior majoring in environmental science on the recreation team, did not know what to expect in his first recreation trip – a backpacking trip at Timothy Lake. “I was super skeptical going into it,” Hall said. “I thought I was going to be stuck with a group of people for the weekend that I would have to share my food with. I ended up having one of the best weekends of my life and I got to meet some people who are now some of my really great friends.”

Every year new students find themselves looking to the recreation office for a chance to escape the complexities of work and school life and to share new experiences with new people. Spencer Vaughn, a senior majoring in history and minoring in fine arts, has been on the recreation team the longest, devoting over two years of time to help others gain new experiences through recreation.

“I learn something new almost every day in Recreation and that process of enrichment has been a huge part of why I tell people that I have the coolest job on campus” said Vaughn. “Every member of our staff has years of outdoor experience that they bring to the table and that makes the job so interesting and rewarding.”

This year, the Recreation Program is getting ready early for some exciting trips, ranging from day hikes to paddle boarding skiing and snowboarding. Each event is devised so that beginners and experts alike can come together and enjoy the outdoors. This year’s events will include several day hikes, rock climbing events, the annual weekend Mt. Bachelor trip and more. For more information, those interested can find out more about the OSI Recreation Program on CougSync, visit the Recreation website at http://studentaffairs.vancouver.wsu.edu/student-involvement/outdoor-recreation-trips-activities and visit the Recreation Office at the Annex, located at the bottom of the hill behind campus buildings.

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