Wim for the Win!

blog1 (1) By: Xylia Lydgate

For those of you who don’t know, Wim Wiewel is the president of Portland State University. He took a break from the office on May 6 and walked over to the Urban Plaza to play a round of kickball at Campus Rec’s Pride Kickball event.

I’d had the opportunity to meet with Wim before at a fancy lunch in the president’s office with my fellow Pacific Islanders Club. Turns out he’s a very mellow, down-to-earth guy with a kind sense of humor.

While a bunch of us were standing around outside, soaking up some sun and enjoying the festivities of Pride Week, I noticed the president appear, walking towards our makeshift “field.”

“Is that the president?” someone exclaimed. I glanced over and knew it was him. “Look, it’s Wim!” I could see all of the Campus Rec staff and students pulling out their smartphones, “snapchatting” photos of our PSU celebrity guest.

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The faces of our players lit up as they watched the president join in for a game of kickball in his suit and tie and make a run for home base.

The greatest part about Campus Rec and Portland State is the sense of pride we have in our community and the fun we have together regardless of status or self-identity. It’s moments like this that remind me why I play. When the stress of college and being an “adult” catch up to me, I remember to play, have fun and unleash my inner child

 

 

50 Years of Adventure

blog1 (1) By: Xylia Lydgate

How do you like to spend your free time outside? I just hit the slopes of Mt.Hood Meadows with the Outdoor Program a couple months ago, which is now celebrating its 50 years of student-led adventure and services. That marks the longest enduring, university-led outdoor program nationwide!

Rumor has it that the University of Oregon was the first school to officially start an Outdoor Program. However, PSU’s Outdoor Program was established the year before in 1966 by a man named Sam McKinney and second PSU president, Branford Price Millar.

The program is rich with history and stories that have been shared from generation to generation. It has compelled students to get outside and explore, and to extend their university experience beyond campus.

Last week, I sat down with Todd Bauch, Campus Rec’s associate director of operations, and the Outdoor Program’s coordinator in 2002. Reflecting on how it has changed over the years, Todd recalls that it was once lacking in diversity. The office was primarily a “white guy’s place to hang out,” he says. Nowadays, students and community members, young and old, male and female, native-born Oregonians and international students alike share a similar passion for outdoor program activities. More structure has also been added to the program over time, ensuring a wide variety of trips, quality service and leadership opportunities such as the new WiLD program.

So, what does the “Outdoor Program” do exactly? At Campus Rec, the Outdoor Program offers guided trips throughout the Pacific Northwest, including service trips and seminars, discounted equipment rental services, free trip planning and resources, kayak roll sessions, a rock climbing center and more.

Stay up-to-date with the Outdoor Program’s 50 year celebration by visiting our microsite and following the hashtag #ODP50 on social media.

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A happy bunch celebrates victory after braving rapids on their Umpqua River trip (2000).

 

How Technology Has Improved My Fitness Habits

Self Photos and Post by: James Wilson

Being a full-time student on top of working and maintaining a connection with family and friends is already hard enough. Adding the right time to get any bit of a workout or any form of physical activity adds just another layer.

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Technology for me has already made that first part way easier. We all are connected to devices nearly 24/7. We work on the go. We also are maintaining that social connection — maybe while even waiting for the Max — when we check our phones to message close friends or family members. But what about working out? How can technology help with recreation?

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Luckily, Android and Apple’s iPhone already have this problem solved. With their built-in pedometers you can see just how active you are in a normal daily routine. Walking 20 minutes to class is now an integrated part of my fitness regimen. Pairing a phone with a wearable device such as the Apple Watch or the Fitbit makes this even better. I’m able to link my smartwatch with my phone and keep tabs on my physical activity at all times. It gets me moving more. I have apps that notify me when I’ve been stationary for too long, and that motivates me to get up and move around. I also have the 7 Minute Workout app on my Pebble watch and phone, so I can optimize my free time when I can’t make it to the gym. For the busy student it really is a habit changer and motivates me when I need it most. 

Not Just a Pool

SelfPost and Photos By: James Wilson

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Many students are aware that the Rec Center has a pool, but one thing they may be unaware of is all the programs it offers. The Rec Center pool is more than just a place to do laps. The other day I got to shoot marketing photos of an aquatics swim clinic — I didn’t know until that day that the Rec Center offered lessons.

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They are small group sessions of five people and an instructor, so you get a lot of one-on-one help and instruction. The Rec Center even has beginner lessons. 

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The Rec Center is full of different programs. You’ll be amazed at the variety!

My Epic Snowboarding Experience [for Beginners]

blog1 (1)  By: Xylia Lydgate

This past weekend was my second time snowboarding and I had a blast, thanks to Campus Rec’s Ski Shuttle.

I was more than ready to make a comeback from my first snowboarding experience, which involved me not having snow pants and falling down the mountain every five feet. This time I was equipped with Gore-Tex snow pants and “ButtSaver” pads, including a tailbone protector— I felt pretty invincible.

Each year the Outdoor Program at Campus Rec has a Ski Shuttle to Mt. Hood Meadows that students and anyone in the community can ride. Jake and Scarlett were our trip leaders. They did an awesome job keeping us well informed and making sure we received our equipment and passes before hitting the slopes. Additionally, our group got to skip the long lines at the rental center and get right to picking up our gear.

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It was a beautiful day at Meadows. The sun was out, it was snowing, and the mountain was covered in fresh powder. As I skated towards the lift, I already felt a greater sense of confidence on my board. I set a goal that day to focus on learning how to turn on both my front and back edges, and how to properly break, rather than intentionally falling every time I wanted to stop.

After a few practice runs on the Bunny and Buttercup Hills, I was ready to progress to the Daisy Hill. The hills on this run are steeper and longer. I felt a rush of exhilaration down each slope. As I began to pick up speed, adrenaline surged through my veins. But the fear of taking a hard hit stuck a pin in the back of my mind.

Suddenly, I lost control.

My momentum launched me forward, sending me into a complete 360 flip, first taking impact from my knees to chest then chucking me straight onto my back. I had of course opened my mouth in shock, inviting a chunk of snow to the back of my throat. I laid on the mountain, motionless, until I regained my senses. Once I realized that had just happened, I started laughing to myself at how incredible of a fall that was yet my body was still in one piece! I was also surprised at how little it hurt— luckily the snow was extra powdery, and the ButtSaver might have helped a bit too.

If you’re a beginner like me, falling is only part of the experience and half the fun. I hope this will serve as some motivation for you to make a trip to the mountain and to never give up when learning a new skill gets frustrating. Don’t forget that the Outdoor Program Ski Shuttle is always a great option if you’re considering your next snowboarding or ski trip.

Working Out With the Boys

blog1 (1)  By: Xylia Lydgate

Stepping foot into a weight room for the first time is often intimidating, but imagine being one of several women in a weight room predominantly occupied by men.

You see racks of daunting weights in every size, machines with strange handles and nooks; then of course, you glance over and see a large heavy-lifter grunting with every breath, sweat dripping and veins pulsing through his neck. You think to yourself, are there even instructions anywhere?  Then you realize you probably should’ve come up with a game plan.

As a freshman, I avoided the Campus Rec weight room altogether. In fact, it took me an entire term before I built the courage to step foot onto the second floor of the gym. My first time walking into the weight room, I scanned the area and realized I had no idea what to do. Any machine that I couldn’t figure out from afar, I didn’t touch. The only exercise I knew how to do with free weights was bicep curls, which I didn’t dare attempt since the free weight space was crowded by big college guys. It wasn’t until a friend introduced me to the weight room that I began to feel more comfortable using weights. I started to follow fitness videos on Instagram and became inspired to make weight training a critical part of my workout routine.

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Although there are still more men, I’ve been noticing more and more women in the weight room. In fact, the Rec Center offers a free program called Women on Weights that is designed to introduce women to a variety of weight training equipment, proper form and technique, and more.

I don’t mind being outnumbered by “the guys” anymore. In fact, there’s something empowering about being a woman in the weight room and performing the same exercises as men.

While the “fight or flight” response may naturally kick in during intimidating situations, continue on to do what you set out to do. Embrace it. Challenge yourself to do the unexpected. Lift weights!

Find Your Why

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By: Sam Bakkila

Now that the crunch time of the semester is upon us, I find myself repeating a piece of advice from PSU alum and motivational speaker Lou Radja.

He told Campus Rec employees, when we were starting our staff training at the beginning of the year: “When the why is strong, the how becomes easy.”

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Keynote Speaker Lou Radja

This piece of advice is simple yet profound. Our level of motivation, and how effectively we keep connected with that which inspires us, ultimately determines so much of our success. Now that the end of the term is here, and many of us are bogged down with exams and papers and projects that could have a substantial impact on our future, it’s time to take a step back, forget about the day-to-day frustrations, and reconnect with our ‘why’.

For me, I am a graduate student in English literature because I love reading and writing, and because I believe that a careful reading of texts will reveal the social and political stakes of writing. I exercise at Campus Rec, because I am happiest and healthiest when I have a chance to push myself to the limits. I work at Campus Rec because I want to help other students along in their path towards wellness. I teach in the Writing Department because I believe that helping students find their voice is among the most important things that a university can do.

I know that in ten years, I’m going to remember the days that I pushed myself and stayed connected with my ‘why’, the nights when I squeezed out two more pages of writing instead of putting on netflix, and the mornings when I woke up for a run in the freezing rain, not as the hardest days of graduate school, but as the best.

Rec for a Cause

selfieBy James Wilson

An awesome thing about the Rec Center is that it’s more than just that place to work out. The Rec Center staff organizes a lot of events, including things that give back to the community. One of those is the Campus Rec for a Cause initiative.

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One thing they recently did, and do every month, was a community cleanup walk. On Nov. 5 they specifically focused on cleaning up our campus of all the cigarette butts everywhere. This was in partnership with SHAC to spread awareness of our new Smoke and Tobacco Free Policy. Feel free to join us once a month to give back and enjoy a cleaner campus!

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You can find more info on the Rec for a Cause Initiative here and the Smoke and Tobacco Free Policy here.

Halloween Thrills


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By: Xylia Lydgate

Halloween is right around the corner, and I am ecstatic.

Since I can remember, I have always celebrated the night in some fashion. As a kid, my mother would dress me up every year. She was one to believe that all Halloween costumes should be scary and would find a way to transform me into some sort of blood-thirsty vampire or haggard-looking witch; princess costumes didn’t make the cut. We would go door-to-door collecting a bag full of assorted candies and sometimes visit the neighbor’s “spooky” backyard haunt.20151029_135353 (1)

Fast forward 10 years later and Halloween is just as exciting! There are plenty of things to do for Halloween both on- and off-campus. Campus Rec gets into the frightful spirit with its popular Halloween themed event, Zombie Dodgeball. In an unearthly twist to the classic game of dodgeball, participants dress up in their wildest zombie interpretation and play several “ghoulish” matches until there is a single team champion. My co-workers and I will be forming a team ourselves and have already decided on a mix of Zombie bride, pirate, soccer player, ’80s inspired, neon themed Zombie costumes. Like most Rec Center events, this tournament is free for both PSU students and members—first come, first served.

Several days ago, PSU Housing hosted their annual Fright Night Haunted House. As a Haunted House junkie myself, I must say, this one is a lot scarier than you would expect from a University run event. However, if you’re looking for a more intense scare, Sauvie Island’s Haunted Corn Maze and Portland’s FarmHouse GhostTown Haunt attraction will not let you down. FarmHouse is Portland’s only full contact haunted house where you will be “touched, restrained, and blindfolded”— talk about intense!

Whether you plan on taking a casual stroll through downtown Portland to see an array of bizarre costumes or choose to navigate through a bone-chilling Haunted House, I wish you all a Happy Halloween!

What do you like to do for Halloween?

Why We Play

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By: Sam Bakkila

Campus Rec has been asking all of its visitors why they play.

I’ve been thinking about this question a lot myself. I play for many different reasons, but I think my deepest answer is that playing allows me to be a total beginner. Rarely as an adult do you have an invitation to fail spectacularly at something that you’ve never tried before. Giving yourself time to play and cultivating a spirit of playfulness helps remind you to take risks, to not fear failure, and to be ready to pick yourself back up when you do inevitably fall.

The next new way to play that I want to try out is Intramural Battleship, which will be offered for the first time ever at Campus Rec in early December. In this fun enactment of the classic board game, teams paddle around in canoes and use buckets to splash other teams until their boats take on water and sink.

Playing a new game or sport breaks a lot of bad habits that hold people back and create unnecessary stress. You can’t be shy, you must learn to work as a team, and you absolutely have to be able to laugh at yourself!

This is our featured member Jonathan, his story, and his reason to play:

Want to share the reason why you play with Campus Rec? We’ll be making more videos and sharing member stories all year. Submit your story here!