The Outdoor Pursuits program at Colorado State University-Pueblo is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. The program, which is dedicated to taking students and staff members of CSU-Pueblo into the outdoors, has grown tremendously in the years it has been on campus.
Scott Robertshaw, associate director of student recreation and Outdoor Pursuits, said the club was founded in 1985, depending on the interpretation of the time the club was officially introduced.
The program started as a small student group that worked out of the biology department and recreation department.
Although the OP is outfitted and known for its climbing, rafting, backpacking and other adventures, it has more to offer, including a place for students to belong. It has become a community of people who bond over their love to get outside and breathe some fresh air.
The OP gives people who love escaping city life a chance to leave campus and experience the beauty of Colorado whether it is for the first or hundredth time, OP employees said.
“The program helps people find themselves. They paddle for the first time or they climb a mountain for the first time. And it might not be something that they do for a profession or even every day, but we’ve seen it on trips where people are amazed with themselves for what they have learned they can do if they just try,” Robertshaw said.
Not only does the program encourage first time experiences for students campus-wide, but many of its student employees also come from a variety of majors outside of recreation. Currently, not a single student employed with OP is a recreation major.
“The community of staff that we have is a bunch of different people from different majors that come with some training and they get more while in the program. And they create a community that helps them be successful at CSU-Pueblo,” Robertshaw said.
The groups taken on most weekend trips are generally small, ranging from about 10 to 20 participants, who sign up on a first come first serve on basis.
There is a Co-Op price offered to members of the OP for a small price at every semester. Each trip is led by at least two employees of the OP to keep participants safe and to teach them outdoor skills.
“I think what I love most about working for the outdoor pursuits, minus getting to hang out with awesome people, is the fact that we give students the tools they need to get out with us, but to also get out and have adventures on their own. We are very informative and encouraging when it comes to the outdoors,” said Gillian Brown, Outdoor Pursuits rock wall supervisor.