GREENVILLE, Pa.—The newest student organization at Thiel College, the Outdoor Recreation Club, will focus on exploring the region’s natural resources, forging students’ connection to the larger community and teaching students outdoor safety. Interest in the club was one factor that led to its creation—with more than 40 students signed up at the club’s launch.
The club will be an important part of the College’s student life program, according to Vice President of Student Life Mike McKinney ’02. The club’s mission includes broadening the awareness and knowledge of local outdoor activities, promoting sustainability on campus and in the community, creating lasting relationships with local and regional recreation organizations, and giving members the opportunity to educate each other in personal outdoor activities.
With an extensive network of outdoor activists and organizations in the Shenango Valley area, the club plans to make connections with associations such as Shenango Valley River Watchers and the Mercer County Trails Association to assist in the completion of the Jamestown trail. Students plan to volunteer at cleanup days for the trails and rivers as well as at the WaterFire event held in Sharon, Pa.
“Thiel College is blessed to be surrounded by an abundance of natural beauty and outdoor recreation opportunities. Many of our students grew up in the outdoors fishing, hiking and boating. The new outdoor recreation club will extend those opportunities throughout their college experience,” McKinney said. “It is also likely to expose new students to the health and wellness benefits of outdoor recreation, which is something we hope they will continue to take advantage of throughout their lives.”
The club has plans for hiking, birdwatching, kayaking, camping, fishing and a variety of other outdoor excursions. They will host a major event each semester to help students build their knowledge in outdoor safety, first aid, and other survival-related situations.
“A group of outdoor-oriented students felt the need for more outdoor recreational activities around campus. We decided to get together as a group to start the club. We wanted students on campus to become more involved in the wide variety of adventures located around Greenville,” Outdoor Recreation Club president Brent Henderson ’20 said. “We are also trying to partner with local recreation clubs and environmental groups to join and assist them at their events.”
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