The Colorado College Outdoor Education Office and the Outdoor Recreation Committee have recently taken some significant steps towards sustainability and advancement.

Haley Leslie-Bole, a senior and an intern at the Outdoor Education office, sat down with the Catalyst to discuss these changes. Leslie-Bole, whose main focus as an intern is sustainability, first explained how the ORC and the Outdoor Education office are intertwined.

“Outdoor Education encompasses all of the outdoor programming at CC and the ORC is the student club within that. We now have hired a full-time staff that works with both.” She explained that this hiring of a full-time staff has been the main change in outdoor programming at CC in the past few years, as well the solidification of the Ahlberg Leadership Institute—the educational center providing different tracks that trip leaders can follow to be able to lead certain trips.

“We’ve introduced a Level 1 training so people can just get a taste of leadership skills,” Leslie-Bole explains. “The climbing, whitewater, the ski programs have also all grown significantly as of late.”

The first planned development of the ORC is that of the “Veggie Van”. The Veggie Van will be one of the 12-passenger ORC vans but with a twist—running completely on vegetable oil instead of gasoline. This project, headed by student Tom Crowe, uses the excess veggie oil from Bon Appétit. “There is definitely going to be some cool signage on it so when we are driving around, people will look and see what it is,” says Leslie-Bole.

Another addition to the ORC is a food manual. “The food manual is something we are putting together to make it easier for leaders to plan their food and make it more sustainable by limiting the packaging,” Leslie-Bole explains. The food manual will tell leaders how to shop, how to calculate the right portions for people so as not to end up with excess at the end of the trip, and where they can go to shop for local food.

Another related innovation is the bulk pantry.

“The bulk pantry is going to be in the new Outdoor Education center and receive bulk food from Bon Appétit, which will really reduce packaging,” she says. This addition will make it cheaper, easier, and more sustainable for leaders prepare for trips.

Last week, The Catalyst covered the move of the Outdoor Education Center to a single new building. Students in the Outdoor Recreation Committee will have a hand in this move.

“The sustainability committee for Outdoor Education, a group of 10 students, has been working on a number of projects (related to the Outdoor Education Center). One of the big things is block eight we are going to implement student-driven landscaping all around the center. So it’s going to be a lot of students hands in the dirt, planting plants.”

The landscaping plans currently consist of plants from different bioregions of the Pikes Peak area. Upon looking around the building, one will see a prairie area, mid-elevation plants, and high-elevation plants.

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