Looking for An Outing?

Libby Darrell, Contributing Writer

Our campus has a thriving atmosphere dedicated to outdoor education, though not all Bucknellians take advantage of the great opportunities provided. One specific organization on campus that is responsible for organizing weekend excursions is the Outdoor Education & Leadership program (OEL). The University is centrally located in the heart of Pennsylvania, which is home to 121 state parks, 2.2 million acres of state forest land, more than 1,500 miles of hiking trails – including a long leg of the Appalachian Trail – and more than 1,000 miles of biking trails, rivers, quarries, caves, and campsites. OEL was created in order to encourage students to take advantage of their surroundings and to escape their comfort zone by going on a hike or white-water rafting trip. Additionally, the program aims to develop student leadership, group dynamics, and environmental stewardship.


Are you just trying to organize a fun outdoor activity with a group of friends?


Rental Center and Bison Bikes


That’s okay, too. OEL has a rental center located in the Outing Club Basecamp at the Tustin Gym near the Gateways, where Bucknellians are able to rent outdoor activity equipment. Some of the equipment includes kayaks, canoes, paddleboards, and river tubes. Also, students can purchase camping packages equipped with outdoor necessities, such as tents, hiking backpacks, whistles, compasses, headlamps, stoves, and fuel. Among some of the rental packages available are designed for backcountry camping, backpacking, car camping, river kayaking, and ice climbing. Payment can be conveniently made using campus dollars, cash, or checks. Rental requests should be made 24-hours in advance.


Another program run through OEL is Bison Bikes, which offers personal bike repair workshops and appointments, as well as semester-long and multi-day bike rentals through its location in the Grove near the Gateway Apartments. The Bike Shop is open Tuesdays 6-8 p.m., Wednesdays 5-7 p.m., Fridays 2-2:30 p.m., and Saturdays 11 a.m.-1 p.m. More information can be found online on the University website under Outdoor Education & Leadership, or by emailing [email protected].


CLIMBucknell and the Climbing Wall


University students also have access to our CLIMBucknell Challenge Course, located at the Cowan Forrest Brown Conference Center. Students, faculty, and staff use the course as a sort of non-traditional classroom; it features low and high elements, a climbing tower, and a zip line. Further, students have access to the Climbing Wall in the Gerhard Fieldhouse.


The wall is open during the week (Monday- Thursday 6-9 p.m. and Friday 3-6 p.m.). “Our wall is completely no experience necessary,” Rachel Johnson ’20, who works at the Climbing Wall, said. “Our staff is super well-trained and stoked to help any and all experience levels enjoy the wall!”


Outing Club


Interested in OEL now? Looking for ways to get more involved in the University’s Outdoor Education & Leadership program?


Join the University’s Outing Club! Outing Club President Elise Rubenstein ’20, explains that its goal “is to provide any student on campus opportunities to get outside!” The club does not discriminate against experience-levels. “We are open to any students, and run all sorts of trips that can accommodate all levels of experience. We have some people who join us on trips having never done any sort of outdoors activity before, while we have other students who have grown up camping and going on outdoor adventures. No experience necessary!” Rubenstein said.


In the spirit of the wilderness, the club runs a variety of trips with a range of durations. “We run anything ranging from short day hikes right off campus, to paddling trips, and even some caving trips, and lots of things in between,” Rubenstein said. “We also host various speakers and events on campus, like bringing Reptiland to campus, or our s’mores and flames event, which is just an opportunity for people to hang out outside in a fun community!” More of their trips include paddling, hiking, climbing, caving, biking, skiing, snowshoeing, and fly fishing.


“For overnight trips, we run a few weekend length backpacking trips, as well as our Cherry Springs Stargazing trip,” Rubenstein said. “Cherry Springs is a state park that is known for being one of the best locations to stargaze in the country and is one of our most popular trips. Our climbing and hiking trips are also both generally really popular, and people get pretty psyched for those!”


As president, Rubenstein’s favorite part of the club is its ability to make the outdoors accessible to students. “It allows people, who may not otherwise have the resources to get outside, a venue to spend their weekends in nature, having some awesome adventures! Additionally, each year we train students to be leaders. So many students who step up get a lot out of training to lead trips, from the planning process to taking people into the field,” Rubenstein said.


In addition to providing accessibility to the outdoors, the Outing Club also offers students a community. “I wanted to participate in Outing Club because having the ability to get off campus and explore nature is really important to me, and I have found that the community of people that share that passion are really incredible people!” Rubenstein said.

For more information on OEL program specifics or how to get involved, contact the OEL program at 570-577-1217 or https://www.bucknell.edu/getoutside.

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