I'm not sure if this is the right place to ask, but since you just had a discussion on meeting grad students, I thought I'd give it a shot. I'm a grad student who is very much into the outdoors... rock climbing, hiking, backcountry stuff, environmental philosophy, mountaineering. Where can I look for other students (grad and undergrad) who are interested in the same thing and would be happy to come and explore the outdoors with me? I'm from the mountainous west, and I miss it, and I've met a lot of great folk out here, but none who are too psyched on exploring outside of the city itself. How can I find any organizations on campus for this purpose? How could I start one? (I'm female, and not very physically imposing so I'm very reluctant to just tie up with people without knowing a bit about them first)...
Thanks... Feeling lonely and missing fellow outdoors-people...
Ahhh… there's nothing like the great outdoors! It's wonderful to hear that you're such an avid adventurer and you're looking to share your experiences with people around you. Though it may depend on where you’re going to graduate school, there are likely a number of ways to investigate and participate in outdoor activities with fellow students (and other folks, too!).
One way to participate in outdoorsy activities at your campus would be to seek out what courses you might take that speak to your adventuring spirit. Are there physical education classes that you can take? Take a look at your school's course catalog to see which ones might pique your interest. What about joining the campus gym or recreation center? You’re bound to bump into fellow students there that are like-minded (maybe there’s a climbing wall there, too?). Additionally, you might want to investigate what your campus has in the way of student organizations and clubs to see if others have created groups with climbing, hiking, and backcountry stuff in mind. A few clicks on your school’s homepage may get you to that information.
Beyond your campus, there are likely to be various clubs and organizations in your community where you can participate in indoor and outdoor rock climbing, bouldering, hiking, and more. If you haven’t already, consider checking out Meetup.com. It’s a website that brings people together in groups for activity-based hangouts based on shared interests. And, if you don’t find what you’re looking for where you live, you can start a group of your own! You might also check out your local Parks and Recreation office. They often offer outdoorsy classes, activities, or meetups in your area.
One last note: If you'd rather take the path less traveled, you could always poster with flyers that call out to all the nature-lovers on campus. Who knows how many people will come out of the woodwork?
Get out there and have fun finding your fellow outdoors-people!
Originally published Nov 01, 1993
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