OREC allows students to explore nature


OREC Trip Leader Ian Witecki led a canoeing trip on the Guadalupe River earlier this semester. photo provided by OREC

For the last 25 years, Trinity’s Outdoor Recreation (OREC) group has been giving students the opportunity to explore not only the state of Texas, but the entire country.

OREC is a student-led organization that centers around taking students on outdoor excursions, ranging from hiking, swimming, backpacking to canoeing and more, in the hopes of relieving some stress and learning about nature.

This semester, OREC has already been on quite a few trips. The club went tubing and canoeing on the Guadalupe River, jumped off of cliffs at Pace Bend and even volunteered by walking dogs while partnering with the New Braunfels Humane Society and Shelter. The group also went horseback riding at Rancho Cortez in Bandera, hiking in Pedernales Falls in Johnson City and Lost Maples Natural State Area, camping at Sulphur Springs on the Colorado River and biking along the Mission Trail on the Riverwalk.

David Spindel, a sophomore business administration major, led the Sulphur Springs camping trip and the biking trip along the Mission Trail. Spindel is serving as one of the OREC trip leaders this year.

“My favorite part about being an OREC trip leader is having the opportunity to continue my outdoor adventures while also taking a leadership role and educating others,” Spindel said.

Spindel is an Eagle Scout from Portland, Oregon and believes in everything OREC has to offer.

“I find nature to be a very relaxing and therapeutic contrast to our stress-filled daily lives,” Spindel said.

Other leaders for the 2017″“2018 year include Julia Weis, Madelyn Gaharan, Liz Sanchez, Maddy Walshak, Shane Bono, Matt Brant, Alejandro Esparza and Ian Witecki. (Weis is the sports editor and Gaharan is the pulse editor for the Trinitonian.) OREC leaders are trained and prepared for anything “” they recently all became wilderness first aid certified through a course with the National Outdoor Leadership School in Austin.

Shane Bono, a senior business analytics and technology major, led the canoeing trip this semester. Bono was in OREC last year, and is in the process of planning a spring break ski trip to Colorado. He feels that all the leaders of OREC really have an impact on the trips.

“We come from many different backgrounds, but we all get pumped about nature. I feel like we could be your stereotypical crazy, nerdy and energetic camp counselors, but that’s what makes spending time with OREC so meaningful “” it’s always an experience,” Bono said.

Liz Sanchez, a senior English major, also emphasized the bonding experience that comes with OREC.

“I really enjoy having the opportunity to get to know students outside of the Trinity bubble,” Sanchez said. “One of my favorite parts about OREC is the bonding that happens when you take an awesome group of people outside and do some outdoorsy things.”

OREC also rents out tons of gear and has tips and tricks to help make your outdoor excursions easy. Stop by the OREC office in the William H. Bell Athletic Center to rent tents of various sizes, backpacks, sleeping bags, tarps and more.

There is only one more trip coming up this semester. The team will embark on a four-day Thanksgiving trip to White Sands National Monument and Lincoln National Forest in New Mexico. Over winter break, they’re going to be training their new trip leaders through a backpacking trip in Big Bend National Park.

You can catch the OREC team during “˜SlackCity,’ a weekly event OREC holds, next to Miller Fountain. You can stop by from 11 a.m.”“12:30 p.m. on Fridays to chat with leaders about upcoming trips, or give slacklining, similar to walking a tightrope, a try.

They are also hiring new trip leaders for the spring semester, so if you’re interested in working for OREC, or you want more information about trips or renting equipment, you can email [email protected].