Program Spotlight: The Outing Club For many students at Washington and Lee, the Outing Club is about more than an outdoor adventure — it's about finding a place that feels a little bit like home.
For many students at Washington and Lee, the Outing Club is about more than an outdoor adventure — it’s about finding a place that feels a little bit like home. What began decades ago with a few students who were into the outdoors is now a rich, multilayered community that enfolds students of all backgrounds, interests and personalities.
Membership in the club comprises more than 50 percent of the student body. Whether male or female, Greek or independent, left-brained or right-brained, these students share at least one passion: the Outing Club.
“The Outing Club can serve students in whatever way fits them best, whether it’s a way to try something new, relieve anxiety, get off campus or meet different people on campus,” said James Dick, director of outdoor education. “The Outing Club allows students to explore and bond in a place completely outside of the academic environment. The goal is to have fun and push your limits. We are in the business of adventure.”
Students are offered a variety of outdoor activities and classes through the club. W&L students lead most activities, including backpacking, back-campus trail exploring, fly fishing, horseback riding, canoeing, kayaking, rafting, rock climbing, mountain biking, caving, skiing and outdoor cooking.
Activities students can sign up for this fall include a whitewater rafting trip on the Gauley River. The first all-day rafting adventure is scheduled for Sept. 25. Everything is provided, including a raft guide, paddle, van ride, lunch and wetsuits. The annual Outing Club Silent Auction will be held on Oct. 8, including music, grilling and lots of outdoor items for sale. International trip options will roll out later this fall with details and date ranges for students to plan. Trips will include biking and hiking tours in Europe beginning the week after graduation. Outing Club staff also encourage students to suggest their own trip or activity with friends, and they will try to program it.
“For me, being a part of the Outing Club has given me a sense of community on this campus,” said Caroline Rooney ’22. “It has also brought me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to experience things I would have otherwise never gotten to try!”
Equipment is available to rent for free by club members from the Outing Club Barn. New this year, students are encouraged to drop in and check out the Outing Club’s fresh space on campus at the Outdoor Adventure Center.
Learn more about the Outing Club at W&L here.