By: Bryant Schoenle
There’s a new club here at Franciscan University of Steubenville and, with 80 members and counting, it is quickly becoming one of the more popular clubs on campus.
Founded in spring 2012 by Gregory Andrews and Andy Wester, the Outdoors Club gives students an opportunity to get off campus and enjoy the different outdoor activities the surrounding area offers.
Their official mission statement is to, “foster a greater awareness of God’s earthly creation and to promote student bonding through regular activities, including skiing, snowboarding and paintballing.”
Wester, a sophomore, is now the club’s president and said he wanted to open the club.
“Being from Chicago, a big city, I don’t have the option to do a lot of great outdoor things without traveling a long distance,” said Wester. “I figure that since Franciscan’s near a lot of outdoor places we might as well take advantage.”
More than 35 students went on a weekend camping trip with the club to Raccoon Creek State Park earlier this semester, and the club plans to go BMX biking and rock climbing later this fall. Last semester the club went snow skiing twice and paintballing once. Sophomore Brian Kirby, the club’s treasurer, has been very pleased with the club’s early success.
“It’s a great opportunity to come together in an outdoors setting and get to know new people.” Kirby said. “Time spent around the campfire with friends brings us together in community and strengthens our relationships with one another.”
Wester stresses that, although the club is devoted to spending time in nature, they are not a ‘nature club.’
“We’re not Greenpeace,” said Wester. “We just want people to connect with one another and have a good time. What better way than to do something recreational that encourages team building?”
The club primarily focuses on having fun, but also remembers to use outdoor activities as a chance to grow closer to God.
“In Psalm 8, King David talks about being filled with wonder and awe at God’s creation,” said Wester. “We often get busy with material things. It’s great to just sit back and enjoy God’s great creation sometimes.”
Anyone who is interested in learning more about the Outdoors Club can email the leaders at firstname.lastname@example.org or find the group on Facebook.