Photo courtesy of Outdoor Program
On January 15th, the Outdoor Program officially started renting out equipment to students for outdoor recreation purposes. The Siskiyou had an opportunity to speak with Ben Allen, the Gear Manager for the program.
What gear is available for students to rent?
We have everything from rafting equipment to camping gear to yard games; but our most popular rentals during this season are probably snowshoes and snowboards! Our full inventory and pricing can be found here. All of our equipment listed on our website is available for however long you need it! Most people rent over a weekend, for which we offer a discount. A lot of people will also do longer rentals over breaks or for something like a snowboard through the entire winter season, which we would also discount. Doing an equipment reservation can really help us ensure that you get what you need, which is currently unavailable due to our reduced operations, but can normally be found on our rental page.
Where can students pick up equipment?
Our rental desk is located in the Student Recreation Center, right next to the climbing wall. Currently we are only open to people with access to the Recreation Center, which is only SOU students and staff. We hope to reopen for the community as soon as it’s safe to do so!
What’s the check out process like?
Super easy! Our awesome staff will help you get the equipment you need for your adventure, get it all set up for you, explain how to use it, and then check it out to you on our rental software. Payment can currently be done through student accounts or debit/credit. All our gear is sanitized and or quarantined between uses.
What precautions is the Outdoor Program taking for students’ safety and how has COVID affected the program in general?
We’ve had our challenges just like many programs on campus, but we’re really proud of what we’ve been able to do while working with the guidelines/restrictions. We were able to operate our climbing gym right up until Oregon’s most recent shutdown. We also were able to operate our rental desk, as well as running several human powered adventure trips leaving from campus; including hiking in the Ashland Watershed as well as biking to/rock climbing at Emigrant Lake. All of our operations have followed strict social distancing, mask wearing, sanitation and other significant modifications to meet and exceed COVID guidelines.
What else is the Outdoor Program up to and how can students become involved?
Currently most of what we are doing is renting equipment, but please come by to get some gear and say hi! You can also support us virtually by viewing the Banff Center Mountain Film Festival through our affiliate link, as we would normally host it at this time of year. This is available until October, and must be purchased through this link in order to support us. We also are recommending other opportunities for outdoor recreation, such as Mt. Ashland and the Mountain Lakes to the east. However, we have some ideas in the works to get students out and recreating safely with us again, and we are staying updated on the current guidelines so we can reopen the climbing center as soon as it is safe to do so. Keep in touch with us by joining our mailing list, by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org, and following us on Facebook and Instagram!