Photo provided by Maddy Walshak
The Trinity Outdoor Recreation Club (OREC) released their spring semester trip schedule, which features 14 adventures across a variety of destinations.
Most of the program’s trips will use a lottery system.
To determine participation, any student may sign up, but only a select number will be randomly chosen to attend, as explained by Gemma Smith, a sophomore trip leader for OREC.
“For a day hike, we usually take nine participants, but as per reservation requirements for camping trips, sometimes only about seven participants can join,” Smith said. “I believe that the smaller the group, the more comfortable people tend to be talking to one another. Our goal is to spread the love of outdoors to as many as possible, which is why we do have some trips that infinite people can attend, such as our park clean-up and picnic party, which we can walk to in lieu of using a university vehicle.”
Maddy Walshak, junior and trip leader explained that although the club maintains its mission of helping Trinity students spend their free time outdoors, it has adopted a few changes to its program.
Most notably, the trip leader staff has doubled since last semester.
“We recently hired seven new trip leaders, which increased that part of our team from eight to 15 people. Something really unique about OREC is that we have no hierarchical power structure,” Walshak said. “All leaders are on even-standing, which fosters a welcoming and collaborative work environment. I’m hoping our new trip leader additions will allow us to increase our presence on campus and lead to a wider variety of trips for participants.”
Smith explained that the 15 trip leaders don’t do it alone.
“Our faculty leader in the athletics department, Kristen Harrison, is a vital member of the club. Professionally speaking, she makes sure we meet financial requirements and standards and that we stay on top of the logistics of the club. On a personal level, she is an amazing leader with tons of experience in group dynamics. She is one of the kindest and most helpful people I have met at Trinity,” Smith said.
Jack Braley, sophomore trip leader, looks forward to leading multiple trips this upcoming semester.
“During the first few months, we’ve got a few overnight camping trips planned. We’re going on a few day hikes to places like Enchanted Rock. We’re even going to the beach this semester. We have a few water trips for when it gets warmer, like paddle-boarding in Austin and cliff jumping. So we’re sticking with our usual trips but adding a few new ones,” Braley said.
Braley and Walshak are both spearheading trips that OREC has not done in the past.
“A new trip that we’re leading is a canoeing trip over Easter Weekend to Devil’s River in the Rio Grande Basin. It’s going to be a higher intensity than our usual, casual ‘float down the Guadalupe river,’ ” Walshak said. “Devil’s River is renowned for being one of the most pristine and remote and challenging rivers in Texas, so this trip will be oriented towards the more adventure-loving type.”
With the addition of new trip leaders experienced in rock-climbing, Braley will be leading a trip over spring break to Hueco Tanks State Park.
“Hueco Tanks is known as one of the bouldering meccas of the planet. We recently we hired a couple of rock-climbing trip leaders so now we have enough leaders to lead rock-climbing trips. That being said, we’re not going specifically for the rock climbing aspect. We have hikes planned, we’re going to explore El Paso; We’re just going to get the bonus of going to one of the best rock-climbing places in the world,” Braley said.
He believes that although OREC has primarily helped him further explore his passion for nature, it has also helped him develop stronger bonds with other students.
“The members of OREC are all my best friends, every single one of them. It’s easy to get close to people when you’re thrown into an adventure with them for three days straight. The moments we’ve shared have helped me develop incredibly valuable relationships,” Braley said.
Braley encouraged all Trinity students to sign up for OREC trips, especially if they are seeking a change in pace from their daily lives.
“I think one of the best parts of OREC is that the small trip sizes allow you to get really close with both the people you’re around and the nature you’re surrounded by. Unfortunately, given that these trips don’t have much room, people are sometimes disappointed if they aren’t picked for one. Don’t be discouraged by the lottery system and keep signing up for trips,” Braley said.
Anyone interested in joining the OREC email list can do so by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.