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The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

New CLU Outdoor Club encourages inclusivity through outdoor recreational opportunities

 

This semester, a brand new club for those who enjoy the outdoors came to fruition. The California Lutheran University’s Outdoor Club was started when four like-minded students came together to create an outdoor community to which all students with similar interests could have access to.

According to club members, the purpose of the club is to bond, enjoy nature and learn from each other.

During a Wellness Resource Event trip to Santa Cruz Island hosted by Cal Lutheran, senior and President of CLU Outdoor Club, Seal Gosnell said she met and befriended three fellow Cal Lutheran students who would later become officers of the club.ย 

Along with Gosnell, junior and Secretary of CLU Outdoor Club Mikayla Butler, junior and Vice President Landon Stouch, and junior and Treasurer Cameron Fetter, now lead a 70-member club with a shared love for the outdoors.

โ€œI found that I was struggling to actually find a community like this on campus, with friends and peers that I could click with that enjoyed similar things,โ€ Butler said.ย 

Butler said it was unfortunate that that community was hard to find, because she believes that we live in a beautiful and unique landscape that has much to offer.ย 

โ€œWeโ€™re so close to so many places that do offer those kind of adventures,โ€ Butler said.

Gosnell said she met Butler on the kayaking portion of the Santa Cruz Island trip and later became acquainted with Stouch. She said on the hiking portion of the trip, she met Fetter.

โ€œIt was really on that hike on Santa Cruz Island that the idea for the Outdoor Club really came about because we were like, โ€˜hey, this is for really motivated people right here who would love to have a community of people to do outdoor activities with. Why donโ€™t we start the club ourselves?โ€™โ€ Fetter said.

Fetter said he and Stouch were already close friends before meeting Gosnell and Butler on the trip.ย 

Fetter, a geosciences major, said a lot of his research is centered around a great emphasis on going outside. He said a love for the outdoors came naturally, especially when he went on a backpacking trip to Alaska last summer.ย He said the trip was a major catalyst for him to want to do more outdoor activities, as well as motivation to get more outdoor experiences with more people, especially at Cal Lutheran.ย 

Stouch said that it was a good idea to get the club started since there isnโ€™t much of a push for outdoor recreational activities on campus.ย 

โ€œI grew up backpackingโ€ฆ and that was really special to me and my family,” Stouch said. “Iโ€™ve been looking for a community of people my age here at Cal Lu and decided that โ€˜well maybe we can get some people together who will be able to do that.โ€™โ€

Gosnell said there was a very long process to get the club approved and that they were originally supposed to be certified as a true club last semester. She also said community in the club is a big thing for her and when she first came to Cal Lutheran there was an Outdoor Club during COVID-19. However, she said, the club was not active for a while.

โ€œFinding people who have similar interests and the drive to also get the club started was pretty exciting for me,โ€ Gosnell said.

Fetter said he hopes to keep the club active at Cal Lutheran for a while, so others can take their mind off of schoolwork and reconnect with the outdoors. He said he knows many students have expressed interest in a community to partake in outdoor activities with at Cal Lutheran.

The club encourages inclusivity and welcoming members of all skill levels, Stouch said. He also said the club hopes to plan a camping trip to Big Sur but it depends on many factors for this semester.ย 

As far as club roles, Stouch said whoever is available takes care of planning, and they all help each other out as needed to ensure the club’s success. Fetter is in charge of social media and Butler is in charge of emails.

โ€œI think my biggest goal, especially in years following, once we have people that succeed the current officers, is that there is a continued community building within the club,โ€ Fetter said.

As Gosnell prepares to graduate this semester, she said she wants to leave behind a community where everyone feels welcome and that is permanent to Cal Lutheran. She said the club will allow students to try new things, challenge themselves and create safe spaces to enjoy the outdoors.ย 

โ€œI want it to become a lasting part of the community scene at CLU so that anybody coming in has an opportunity to either continue to do outdoor activities with people, or start doing that when they find out about the club,โ€ Gosnell said.

Gosnell said she is happy that there are so many people who have an interest in the club and who are willing to do the work to bring the club to the Cal Lutheran community. She said the club is for everyone with any outdoor experience level, and members will be able to learn from each other in future activities.ย 

Gosnell hopes that in future years the club will be able to offer consistent events, and gear will be available for club members to use for free for personal outdoor activities or club events.

So far the club has done a hike in Wildwood Regional Park and up to Cal Lutheran’s cross.

The CLU Outdoor Club meets every Wednesday from 5-6 p.m. in Swenson Science Center.

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