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SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

Campus Organization Spotlight: Outdoor Pursuits

Students and staff from Outdoor Pursuits (OP) take a break during their hike at Greenhorn Mountain. Photo provided by OP’s official Instagram, @csup_outdoorpursuits.
OP staff members during the first trip of the Fall 2023 semester. From left to right: John Lanoue, Aaron Garcia, Holly Humphries, and Brett Woolcock. Photo provided by OP’s official Instagram, @csup_outdoorpursuits.
The group stands together on top of the summit of Greenhorn Mountain. Photo provided by OP’s official Instagram, @csup_outdoorpursuits.

Outdoor Pursuits (OP) at Colorado State University Pueblo is an organization on campus that connects students to community, nature and adventure. With the motto: “Inspire, Equip, and Embark,” OP offers a wide range of both land and water-based outdoor activities.

Aaron Garcia, director of OP, said, “The program provides a wide range of land and water-based outdoor activities and trips to the campus and Pueblo communities. Additionally, Outdoor Pursuits provides team and leadership development opportunities to for-profit, non-profit and university organizations in a variety of locations, such as the on-campus challenge course.”

OP offers excursions during both the fall and spring semesters. While the excursions cost money to attend, they are affordable opportunities that include transportation, equipment, and experienced guides who come along for the journey. 

The average cost for the trips this fall for students is $22.50. The price varies for CSU Pueblo alumni or staff. Additionally, there are free opportunities to get involved with OP through the rock wall and swimming pool located in the Student Recreation Center on campus. 

“‘OP in the Pool’ are nights that we facilitate games and skills that incorporate kayaks, canoes, and paddle boards. These nights are centered around fun and learning new watercraft skills,” Garcia said. This event occurs on the last Thursday of every month.

The 2023 fall trips schedule has been released, and OP has had its first excursion. Adam Gillison, a second-year grad student majoring in biology, was one of the participants in the first trip this semester. 

“This was my first OP trip. We did a backpacking trip. It was two days, and it was at Greenhorn Mountain,” Gillison said. 

Gillison was aware of OP before, but it was at this year’s involvement fair that he was able to talk with some people about the program and what it had to offer. He detailed the process of preparing for the trip. Once signed up for the excursion, participants received emails from OP, and they held a meeting going into detail about what to expect for the trip. 

The evening before departure, participants met at Outdoor Pursuits at the Recreation Center on campus and received their gear for the trip. For the most recent Greenhorn Mountain backpacking trip, attendees received backpacks, trekking poles, and sleeping bags. 

“Initially, I wanted to go backpacking by myself for the first time, and a lot of people said that wasn’t a good idea,” Gillison said. 

OP is a beneficial program for students interested in the outdoors but who need help figuring out where to start or what to do. OP helps guide students and assist them based on their skills.

Garcia encourages any student interested in attending an OP trip for the first time,“We are here for you, the students. We are so excited to welcome you to the OP family.”

“Our staff is equipped to embark on such fun and memorable experiences that we want you to experience alongside us first hand. We are always open to questions, comments, and concerns and will make sure you are more than ready for your first trip and any trip down the road,” he said.

Other OP trips for the Fall 2023 schedule include summiting Spanish Peak, climbing City Rock, climbing Shelf Road, biking along the Arkansas River, and snowshoeing Beulah landscapes. This schedule and sign-ups can be found on its website, recreation.csupueblo.edu, as well as through its official Instagram, @csup_outdoorpursuits

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