PSU Outdoor Center
Experiential education. Challenge-by-choice. Human-powered activities. Team building. Plymouth State’s Outdoor Center is guided by a philosophy that incorporates concepts and practices from outdoor adventure and education. At its core, the Outdoor Center provides the Plymouth State community with opportunities to participate in programs that serve as catalysts for personal and professional growth. The trips, clinics, and trainings the center offers are structured around a cooperative adventure model that uses human-powered outdoor activities to connect participants with the outdoors. Glance at the center’s Web site, and you’ll find everything from Wilderness First Responder classes to surfing clinics.
“The Outdoor Center is an important component of the PSU experience,” said Angel Ekstrom, the center’s director. “Many of our students have not been exposed to human powered outdoor activities, so they need instruction and equipment to get them started. Often these activities turn into lifelong hobbies, all of which support maintaining a healthy lifestyle.”
Students link what they learn in their academic curriculum to the Outdoor Center programs. “We teach to different learning styles, delivering information through demonstration, experience-based learning, and reflective practice,” commented Ekstrom. This is evident in the variety of courses and programs offered by the center, including the High/Low Ropes Facilitator course, which can be taken for graduate credit. The course teaches processing and facilitation techniques that can be universally applied to any profession. Many teachers enroll in the course to develop new strategies to include adventure in their classrooms.
In addition to courses and training, the center offers an equipment use program with everything from skis and snowshoes to paddling and camping gear. “We’re always looking for ways to make our programs more accessible and available to students, and the means to offer a diverse range of outdoor experiences” said Ekstrom. “Currently, we’re trying to expand our equipment selection to include telemark ski gear and sleeping bags (20 degree, 0 degree, and -20 degree bags).”
Outdoor equipment can be checked out to Plymouth State groups and individuals, including current students, faculty, staff, and alumni. For more information or to volunteer with the Outdoor Center, contact Angel Ekstrom at firstname.lastname@example.org or (603) 535-2622.