SRU program encourages students to venture into the great outdoors


Paddleboarders at Lake Aurther

Slippery Rock University’s Office of Campus Recreation is leading Outdoor Adventure Programs that include mountain biking and stand-up paddleboarding. Both activities are free for students and equipment and transportation are provided.

June 18, 2019

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. — According to a U.S. presidential proclamation, a U.S. Senate resolution and a proclamation from the Pennsylvania Governor's Office, June is National Great Outdoors Month. This month-long celebration, organized by a group of sponsors, agencies and advocates that comprise the Great Outdoors Council, is intended to highlight the healthful, social and economic benefits of being outdoors.

So why should there be all this fanfare for fresh air?

"Being outdoors allows us to unplug, live in the moment and experience space and time; that's essential to our mental well-being," said Andy Loue, assistant director for facility operations and outdoor programming in Slippery Rock University's Office of Campus Recreation. "At the very least, it makes your body move intentionally. When you're inside you're likely sitting down or you're at a desk for eight hours. When you go into the woods or out on the lake or the rock face, you move. It removes modern convenience and noise and can create a realistic or perceived sense of isolation, which is important."

Since arriving at SRU in 2012, Loue has managed SRU's Outdoor Adventure Program, which has been offered to students since the mid-1980s. This summer, the program features two organized activities: mountain biking and stand-up paddleboarding. There's an introduction to mountain biking class offered 4:30-6:30 p.m., June 19 and 26; July 10, 17 and 24, at the campus trails near the Ski Lodge. The class is available for free to SRU students and bikes are provided. Additionally, there's a mountain biking ride for more experienced mountain bikers from 6:15-7:30 p.m. on the campus trails.

"Mountain biking is one of the fastest growing outdoor pursuits right now," said Loue, who instructs the group and provides 10 mountain bikes from Campus Recreation. "With our trails on campus, it is quite accessible and there's a section of trail that's appropriate for beginners to learn."

Stand-up paddleboarding, which is a water sport that combines the physical aspects of surfing, kayaking and skateboarding, is also offered to SRU students at Moraine State Park, 4-7 p.m., June 20 and 27; July 8, 15, 23 and 29, with equipment and transportation provided from SRU.

"It's like walking on water," said Loue, who typically leads a group of eight students out on Lake Arthur in Moraine State Park. "You're standing on a big surf board and it offers a different perspective where you can see down into the water. It's also challenging with balance and stability."

Loue, who also plans to lead a group of students on an outdoor rock climbing trip this summer, said the goal of the Outdoor Adventure Program is to get students to take a break from their studies, turn off their phones and live in the moment.

"When you're holding on to the cliff face or standing on the paddleboard at the lake, guess what you're thinking about? That!," Loue said. "Focus is almost a novel concept right now. A lot of people have trouble paying attention when they drive. That's the beauty of the adventure program; it allows the students to get away and focus on something."

Students are welcome to join the classes even though the seven-class program started in early June.

For more information, contact Loue at: 724.738.2883 or

MEDIA CONTACT: Justin Zackal | 724.738.4854 |