Keene State College’s student-run Environmental Outing Club (EOC) discussed their history of exciting off-campus trips as well as their tentative plans for the Fall 2020 semester, amidst an overall slow start to an unconventional school year.
The KSC Environmental Outing Club is a student organization devoted to celebrating the outdoors and providing opportunities for physical activity to students of all abilities and experience levels. Its members have organized and made available various free or subsidized student-led trips, ranging from a few hours to weekend-long events. Past outings and club activities have included hiking, nature walks, camping, rafting, surfing, mountain-climbing, stargazing, and apple-picking, and they have visited destinations across Vermont, West Virginia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine as well as more local outings.
The club provides the necessary gear and equipment, encouraging students to bring only themselves, their clothes and their water bottle when traveling with the group. Financial support for the club’s activities comes from the program of Student Involvement.
Because of COVID-19, the KSC Outing Club has seen limited activity during the fall semester. Abigail Touchet, one of the two student presidents of the Environmental Outing Club, confirmed the organization has not yet engaged in any of its usual off-campus trips or hosted any major activities this semester, but she and her co-president, Zachary Stephenson, hope to solidify their plans for the rest of the 2020-2021 school year once the club next meets, on the 22nd. Touchet has confirmed the EOC intends to host a social cookout on campus to celebrate Halloween, which will take place on October 30 out behind the Pondside 1 building.
Touchet cited a number of examples of the past outings the club has enjoyed before COVID-19 limited their options.
“One of our major trips that we usually do every year is a big surfing trip at Rye Beach right at the beginning of the year in September,” she said, referring to the coastal town of Rye, New Hampshire.
She also described making monthly visits to the rock-climbing walls of Center Rock Gym in Hadley, Massachusetts over various weekends. For the most recent trip before the pandemic delayed their further plans, the Outing Club went on a snow-tubing trip to Granite Gorge in Roxbury, New Hampshire on March 7.
She recommended interested students should pay attention to the Outing Club’s Instagram page, @environmentaloutingclub, and direct any questions they have there.
“We are planning on using that more regularly for updates,” Touchet said.
The Environmental Outing Club also maintains a Facebook page under the same name, as well as a personal website used to share photos of their past outings and allow students to sign up for and discuss planned trips.
Lynne Andrew, the college’s Director of Recreational and Intramural Sports, oversees and supports the Outing Club but described Touchet and Stephenson as handling most of the planning and organization for club activities themselves. She mentioned that the club has discussed ideas for local outings they could undertake but have not committed to any plans for the semester yet.
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