Trinity University Outdoor Recreation (O-Rec) halved the price of their trips after receiving funding from the Association of Student Representatives (ASR). O-Rec approached ASR in an effort to alleviate the amount of money students were paying for trips and to reach parity with other institutions.

“Outdoor recreation clubs at Stephen F. Austin and Southwestern receive funding for their trips,” said Mitch Hagney, O-Rec trip leader. “We also wanted to help out the students, because some of the trips can be pretty expensive.”

According to Hagney, the goals of O-Rec and ASR are very similar.

“ASR’s stated goals are explicitly what O-Rec tries to do. They were actually surprised we hadn’t applied for funding earlier,” Hagney said. “We offer trips to the entire Trinity community, with no preference, that are supposed to improve the mental and physical health of students.”

O-Rec applied for $1,841 of funding through the ASR funding request process. After filling out the required paperwork, O-Rec presented to ASR, and ASR voted on whether or not to fund them.

“We looked at the criteria we had been using for questions of funding throughout the year. Basically, if an organization is active and is offering an event for the entire community, there’s a good chance we will fund it,” said Evan Lewis, vice president of ASR. “We had the money and we knew that O-Rec was a popular group, so the funding passed basically unopposed. It’s a good use of the student activity fee.”

Earlier in the year, O-Rec planned a horseback riding trip. After O-Rec set up the trip, several people had to drop out of the trip due to the cost. However, O-Rec had to meet the contract they set up with the riding stable. While O-Rec still carried out the trip, they did so at a $300 loss. The funds from ASR should potentially help O-Rec plan trips more confidently.

“Routinely, financial burdens are the reasons people don’t go on a trip,” said Peter Vidmar, equipment manager and trip leader for O-Rec. “This is a win-win from our perspective. We won’t have to operate at a loss and more students will go on the trips. It’s good for the students and the organization.”

According to Hagney, several of the more exciting trips, such as surfing, horseback riding, sea kayaking and parasailing, are difficult to plan due to cost concerns. However, the additional funding will make those events more feasible.

“Since the trips are less expensive, it’s easier to get students to go,” Hagney said. “Now we can spend less time advertising, and more time planning the events.”

O-Rec is going on a canoeing trip around Austin this weekend and a spelunking trip in the Deep and Punkin Caves Nature Preserve Friday through Sunday, April 19 – 21. They are still in the process of planning the outings for next semester.