UVU Outdoor Adventure Center: finding wellness in getting out

As school starts up and academic pressures mount, the UVU Outdoor Adventure Center can be an important resource for keeping students physically and mentally healthy.

Mountain bikes on display in the Outdoor Adventure Center. Photo by Joshua Sperry and Jefferson Albright

Students are slowly inching their way back into the school semester, and when classes replace pool parties, it is easy to get stuck inside and watch homework pile up on desks. 

“Mental health problems are very common among college students,” says Doctor Paolo Pedrelli, Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, and others in their publication citing Doctor Carlos Blanco. The challenges of college can include separation from family, taking on stressful academic responsibilities, and planning for a life beyond school, “may . . . [correspond] to a challenging time for many traditional and non-traditional undergraduate students.”

Fortunately, there are natural ways for students to find relief amidst the stress.

In a study conducted by Linda L. Caldwell, the findings of Anne Passmore and Davina French stated that, “ . . . achievement-oriented and social leisure significantly predicted positive mental health.” The UVU Outdoor Adventure Center helps to encourage this. By providing resources and sponsoring events that help students get out of their heads, out of their books, and out into nature, they are providing access to meaningful leisure that can give struggling students a healthy balance for their negative emotions.

“I definitely think [getting outside] has a huge impact [on mental health], and that is why we really promote the outdoor recreation center,” said Trevor Carter, program director of the Wellness Program. “Getting out there, getting a little bit of Vitamin D, but being active in general can release all of those feelings . . . and help ground us.”

To do this, the OAC has a wide array of outdoor equipment readily available for students to rent, which can be found in person at the center, or on their website. Available rentals include supplies for biking, camping, climbing, hiking, as well as water and winter sports. 

The OAC also hosts guided outdoor activities such as biking, hikes, and meditations. For more information on rentals or current sponsored activities, students are asked to inquire at the OAC, located at SL 216, or to visit their website.

The Outdoor Adventure Center is open from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday and from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturdays.

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