By Katherine Burgess, Staff Writer
While only a month has passed since the start of the semester, Union students have already had several off-campus recreational opportunities — including white-water rafting and canoeing trips.
On Sept. 10, 43 upperclassmen women headed off campus for a canoeing trip on the Buffalo River hosted by Residence Life.
“Everyone picked up (canoeing) really quickly,” said Kristin Wells, assistant resident director of the female quads. “It was very relaxing.”
Wells also said the women on the trip enjoyed spotting “fun things,” including lizards, water snakes and even a waterfall.
Rebecca Sperry, sophomore nursing major, described how they had intended to stop halfway through the trip for lunch. When they failed to find a rope-swing that marked the halfway point, Sperry and her friends picked a spot on the side of the river for the group to have lunch.
“We just turned over a canoe and made it like our table and everyone sat there and ate sandwiches,” Wells said.
“It was just a ton of fun,” Sperry said of the trip. “It was something unique that (my roommates and I) got to do that we probably wouldn’t do by ourselves.”
Wells said: “The purpose was just to build a community and to experience things that are here in the Jackson area or around, but off campus. It really does create a fun niche of people who get to know each other who normally probably wouldn’t have.”
Residence Life said they hope to continue this trip annually.
On Sept. 17, Wellness Services sponsored a white-water rafting trip to the Ocoee River. Eleven students, as well as Trey Collier, Wellness Services graduate assistant, went on the day-long trip.
“We had an early start to the day, but once we got there and got going everyone was really excited,” Collier said. About half of the group had never gone white-water rafting before, but Collier said apprehensions quickly faded after they made it through the first few rapids.
“From what I can tell, everybody had a really good time,” Collier said.
About half of the group, including Collier, even chose to extend the trip, camping that night in the national forest instead of immediately returning to campus.
As the semester continues, the opportunities to head on an off-campus adventure with other Union students will also continue.
Heritage residents can look forward to a camping trip that Lisa Neumann, resident student adviser for Heritage, said is “in the works.” While nothing is “set in stone,” Residence Life hopes the trip will happen in October.
This month Wellness Services is also bringing back last year’s Climb Nashville trips, in which students can spend their Saturday evenings enjoying an extensive indoor climbing facility in Nashville.
Collier pointed out that while he likes using Union’s gym, trips like Climb Nashville provide the opportunity to get exercise in a location other than Union’s familiar campus and gym.
Like the canoeing and white- water rafting trips, the Climb Nashville and camping trips will offer students a chance to relax with friends in an off-campus setting.