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Photo illustration of a person on a hike

Bobcats Well-Being and Campus Recreation host weekly hikes

With the weather warming up, Ohio University’s Bobcats Well-Being and Campus Recreation are encouraging students to spend time outside and join them in day hikes around Athens.

Athens holds many hiking treasures, including Strouds Run, Sells Park and the Ridges. Due to COVID-19, typical hiking places away from campus have been put on a hold. However, the team at Bobcats Well-Being hopes this will change in the upcoming months.

“We've got a good bit of different things, it just depends too on how people define their well-being and what's best for them and where they're at right now,” Wes Bonadio, director of Well-Being and Recreation, said. “I think what we're trying to do is provide some things in person –– a sense of normalcy, of like, if this is something that you've always done while you've been here on campus, we're still providing those things, but also trying to acknowledge that there are some aspects of life that are really tough right now so trying to give educational programming around that as well.”

Bonadio expressed that he and his team understand that life is difficult for students right now but they want to provide support however they can. Their support comes in many different mediums and programs, which can be found on their website.

”We've tried to put together as much information as we possibly can, at least right now it's not exhaustive, but at least putting things out there in regards to resources – whether it's on campus, whether it's Campus Rec related or if it is things that are just out there that we can support – and help people find ways of being healthy being happy, staying connected, but doing it in a way that fits them,” Bonadio said. “Because everybody's so different, (we’re) really trying to not put everybody in a box and say this is the one thing you got to do to be healthy and to find happiness in your life. It really is individualistic.” 

The day hikes have been hosted throughout the first semester and will continue to be held for the rest of the school year. In order to attend a hike, students can sign-up online on the Campus Recreation website.

On the day of the scheduled hike, students will meet at the hiking location. Once there, there will be hiking leaders that have planned routes that take around three hours to cover.

“We didn't want to do any kind of hikes that were too far away, where students weren't able to get themselves there,” Judd Walker, assistant director for Campus Recreation, said. “We wanted to encourage people to step away a little bit from campus and see what's in our area. There's really good hiking –– there's a lot of really beautiful stuff to take in around here.”

These hiking opportunities let group members become more acquainted with their peers, who they may have never met before. This allows students to meet people with similar interests and learn more about fellow Bobcats.

“The day trips we're offering this semester are a really good way to get out and engage in the world, during a time when we really have been kind of stripped of the opportunity to do that,” Walker said. “This is a really good, safe way to go on a guided, curated outdoor experience with other people. You're going to get to meet other Bobcats, which are in really short supply right now, and have a good time and get to know the area, away from campus and away from Court Street. There's some really good outdoor stuff happening right here in our own city in our own town. And so this is a great opportunity to kind of see the world beyond the tiny bubble that a lot of students tend to exist in.” 

In trying to help students' mental and physical health, these day hikes are made to involve students and help them become familiar with the area they’ll be spending their college days exploring.

“It's really important to me – it's a nice break to kind of separate yourself from school and everything going on in your life like schoolwork, volunteering, everything else and just spend time to kind of relax,” Emma Tremblay, a first-year studying biological sciences, said. 


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