With Sonoma County’s reputation of gorgeous scenery and excellent location, it is no wonder that the students of Rohnert Park want to explore all that it has to offer. Whether you are interested in hiking, mountain biking, or something a little more extreme like whitewater rafting, no place provides more opportunities than Sonoma State University. Since the early ‘90s, Outdoor Pursuits has continued to grow and now offers a variety of more than twenty trips to its students each semester.
Regardless of your previous experience in the outdoors, all students are welcome and encouraged to attend at least one trip. Not only is Outdoor Pursuits a great way to gain useful knowledge and test your limits, but it also gives participants a chance to meet new people and stay physically active.
“It is a great venue to get outside, take a break from (electronic) life and have some wonderful, memorable experiences,” said Adventure Program Coordinator Kevin Soleil. “Also making some genuine friends in a program that is run by students.”
Despite Soleil’s job to oversee the operations in Outdoor Pursuits, he emphasizes that the students are the ones responsible for coming up with fun and productive trips. In regards to safety, the staff does an excellent job of addressing and managing risk by educating its participants in various activities.
Students have knowledgeable coordinators leading the way. McKella Koho is in her third year at SSU and works in the Adventure Programs department. Her passion for nature has led her here from Mount Shasta, Calif. and she couldn’t be more grateful for what Outdoor Pursuits has done for her.
“I have learned so much about myself from being in the outdoors,” Koho said. “With outdoor pursuits, I have not only been able to challenge myself physically on these trips, but I have learned what it means to become a better leader when it comes to sharing the natural world with others.”
Her constant efforts to better the program have continued to bring in more participants, some who needed a change of scenery.
“These trips vastly differ from any ordinary workout at the gym,” Koho said, “Being outdoors gives you a great workout with the benefits of stimulating your mind by the natural systems in which we are a part of and the most excellent and rewarding view.”
And if the fear of failing to complete a trip is keeping you from joining, Koho assures all students that her staff will take the necessary steps to resolve any underlying issues.
One individual who is looking forward to getting involved with Outdoor Pursuits this fall is Sonoma State’s very own MacKenzie Cima. Despite just hearing about the program, she is ready to start circling dates on her calendar.
“I enjoy the outdoors, going hiking with friends and family, and being adventurous,” Cima said. “ It’s great because the education is expanded outside the classroom. It gives students time to break away from their busy schedules and explore all that nature has to offer.”
For a full list of the trips that are being offered this semester, visit the Outdoor Resource Center located on the first floor of the Recreation Center. Trips fill up quick so be sure to sign up and ensure your spot.