By Gabriel Sofie
The Outdoor Center at Western Washington University is a place for Whatcom students as much as it is for Western students.
The Outdoor Center, located on the ground floor of the Viking Union, has a wide variety of services to offer, such as equipment and tool rentals, and group excursions for some of the lowest rates available. Whether a student is not experienced in outdoor activities or is the most experienced of thrill-seekers, there is something at the Outdoor Center to take advantage of.
Students can register just by showing a valid Whatcom Orca card.
Freddy Collins, program manager of the Outdoor Center, said, “We value our relationship with Whatcom immensely here at Western and we want to see more Whatcom Students taking advantage of our program.”
Collins said that the center is a great way for students to get involved with the outdoors and meet new people.
“The relationships that I have seen be built between students involved in our programs is magnificent,” Collins said. “I’ve seen kids coming into their first year of school, not having many friends then joining one of our programs, completely reinventing their community.”
Some of the services at the center include bike rentals and a variety of tools for any student’s personal bike. There are also experienced technicians available to help with repairs and provide advice.
The center also rents equipment for almost everything for winter sports, rock climbing, ice climbing, and aquatics, such as kayaks and canoes. There is also a library of DVDs, books, and other informational resources.
Besides rentals and equipment, the Outdoor Center also organizes excursions and challenges.
The Western Outdoor Orientation Trips program, called WOOT, offers different types of trips depending on the time of year.
One of the trips involves a weeklong hiking and camping trip. The Outdoor Center will provide all the camping equipment and the knowledge and skills to take groups.
Austin Petak is a Western student who says he takes full advantage of the deals at the Outdoor Center.
“A majority of my hobbies are related to the outdoors,” Petak said. “So, having an organization that has bike tools that I can just use for a small fee has been a great help. Just realizing how much I’m saving and knowing there’s a community there if I don’t know something, makes it so much more enjoyable that I’m part of it.”
Visit the Outdoor Center’s website at www.as.wwu.edu/outdoor/ for a list of rentals, services, and planned excursions.