In with the Outing Club

By Josh White

Published in the Dec. 3, 2012 edition of the Ring Tum Phi

What are you doing this weekend? If the answer is “I don’t know” or “just going to another party,” you should consider the Outing Club as an alternative instead.
The outing club at Washington and Lee offers students a variety of outdoor activities and classes, acting as a gateway for people with similar interests to meet each other and get involved.
“Sometimes I think college students just need a little nudge,” said Outing Club Director Mr. James Dick.  For many people on campus it may seem like all that’s happening on the weekends is partying, but that’s not the case.  Students are doing activities in the outdoors all the time, whether it be rock-climbing, fishing, mountain biking, or just going for a leisurely hike.  As the weather gets colder, more winter activities will be possible too, such as skiing
“People come to college to explore life…the outdoors should be included in that experience,” said Dick.  Since we are all going to be old some day, we should take advantage of our youth now and go places and do things that we might not be able to do in the future.
“Everything is okay in moderation,” said Dick, “ but if you’re only drinking every weekend, or only rock climbing every weekend, that’s bad.”  The Outing Club philosophy promotes a well-rounded college experience that is in accordance with the liberal arts nature of the school.
With excursions organized almost every weekend so far in the fall semester, the outing club’s activity is only recently reaching a level of relative tranquility as we approach finals week.
But it’s never too late to start planning ahead! With the upcoming winter term, ski and snowboard trips the The Homestead Ski Area and others near by will be organized through the Outing Club with outstanding deals.
Looking ahead, Sign ups for 14 day long trip to Tanzania this summer have just opened this past Wednesday, with fifteen spots are available. Dick described the opportunity as “the trip of a lifetime.”  There is also an upcoming sea kayak trip to the Everglades during Spring Break that is “perfect for an inexperienced enthusiast.”
Weeklong break trips can get costly, but there are always opportunities for scholarships.  One anonymous alum who donates funds every year to sponsor one break trip has only three criteria: any recipient must “positively contribute to the group, share the experience, and don’t suck!”
 If you’re looking for a less time-consuming way to get involved there are shorter weekend and even day trips organized by students within the outing club.  Joining is as easy as coming to one of the biweekly Wednesday meetings at 7 pm, or simply stopping by James Dick’s office in commons 115 to ask what’s going on.
Membership to the Outing Club is $40 for all four years.  That includes unlimited use of gear from the Outing Club barn – from kayaks to tents to scuba diving gear – discounts on organized trips, and the latest updates on all the happenings in the club.
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