Warmer weather and a sprinkle of sunshine is making many people eager to enjoy the outdoors during spring and summer, and West Georgia Outdoors (WGO) allows students to do just that. WGO provides students with a way to escape from school by hosting events such as camping, climbing and kayaking events on and off campus.
WGO started around 10 years ago as a part of the University of Recreation (UREC) that has three parts to their program. UREC includes a climbing wall, outdoor recreation center and a trips component which faculty staff and students can enjoy. Because of the pandemic and safety protocols, a lot of events and trips were cancelled because of the inability to social distance.
“On a normal year we would be doing all types of fun trips like hiking, camping in the mountains, skydiving and so many others,” said Triatian Thompson, Graduate Assistant at WGO. “This year we have done more local trips and on campus events like our recent Campus Campout to have something to do where we don’t have to travel.”
The trip component to WGO is very popular among students because it provides students the opportunity to go on trips and explore the outdoors. Because of the recent safety protocols, the importance of being outdoors and connecting to nature is greater than ever.
“Being outside can create a calmness by just changing your environment in general,” said Thompson. “Getting outside of your element can really bring about peace and clarity. With this pandemic there has been a huge mental aspect to it, and we all have been affected by it, so by just giving anyone the opportunity to try something new outdoors where students can still feel safe is a big priority for us.”
Trying out new things promotes a more active and healthy lifestyle as opposed to staying in the house all day. WGO also has programs and events that will happen in the next few weeks and the upcoming semester.
“This semester we did some of our regular things like our climbing wall at half capacity, rentals for bikes and so on,” said Thompson. “We also had a West Georgia Outdoors Expo as well as Campus Campout.
“Next semester we will still be doing all the outdoors beginner friendly events but we are also going to be adding back other events like camping and hiking overnight and going on trips again,” continued Thompson.
With the many events that WGO has planned and more sunny days ahead there are many chances for students to get outside and explore the outdoors.