“You don’t have to go great distances to see amazing places,” says Emily Wilk, assistant director for adventure recreation and camps. “There is a pride in where you live that comes with exploring the world around you, even if it’s only a few miles away.”
With the new Outdoor Engagement Center, taking up residence at 438 Stonemill among the student houses, students can get beyond campus and discover Dayton in a new way.
“The center has been years in the making,” said Melissa Longino, director of campus recreation. “ We’ve had a lot of support from the administration and have created partnerships with downtown businesses, like White Water Warehouse, and the Five Rivers MetroParks system.”
The possibilities seem endless as Longino and Wilk list off the options for outdoor adventures they offer: kayaking, bike riding, camping trips and more, all complete with clinics and training.
“We have different levels of classes students can participate in,” Wilk said. “The classes range from beginners to advanced with training in bike repair, hiking, camping and more.”
The center started with student interest in the bike rental and climbing wall programs and a community engagement partnership with the River Institute.
“It has very much been a collaborative effort,” Longino said.
Students even have a flat rate on all equipment rented. Kayaks are $15 a day to encourage students to keep them overnight or go camping with them.
“We wanted to provide recreational outlets that meet the needs of our students,” Wilk said. “We want to create a culture of outdoor engagement, while drawing students into the city and bringing a sense of care and pride to our community. They might even want to join the ranks of UD alumni who stayed right here in Dayton after graduation.”
See more pictures of the Outdoor Engagement Center’s grand opening here.