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Students get involved outdoors

Outdoor Action is program that allows 90 incoming honors college freshmen to participate in a service-learning program benefiting the Tuscaloosa community. Photo Courtesy of Cokie Thompson

Tara Massouleh, Katherine Metcalf

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Through the Honors College program Outdoor Action, incoming honors freshmen participate in a service-learning program benefitting the Tuscaloosa area while earning ?Honors credit.

During the week, freshmen are led by upperclassmen in a series of outdoor service projects in Tuscaloosa. This year, the group participated in park maintenance at Deer Lake Park, a canoeing trip on the Sipsey River, clearing out debris from Hurricane Creek and a cleanup of ?Lake Nichol.

Although Outdoor Action finishes at the end of the workweek before classes start, many students find their experience lasts much longer. Dylan McCaghren, a senior majoring in marketing and Spanish, has participated in Outdoor Action for all four years of his undergraduate study, and said he has enjoyed seeing the program grow from a group of 40 to 90 freshmen.

“I do it every year because I can see the changes we made,” he said. “When we started my freshman year, it was a lot of work having to do with the tornado, and now it’s less about the tornado, and we can now focus on other things.”

The connections made through the program have made the group more like a family than a group of unrelated students, participants said.

Savannah Chandler, a sophomore majoring in economics, participated in the program her freshman year after her brother was a leader, and went on to become a leader this year.

“A lot of my closest friends came from Outdoor Action,” she said. “It’s a great way to meet people who like the outdoors and want to go camping.”

For incoming freshmen, Outdoor Action serves as an opportunity to become acquainted with life at the University through upperclass mentors. They also get a headstart meeting other freshmen.

“I got connected to my first good friend here on campus, and also a few upperclassmen, which is valuable to me as a freshman,” said Joey Vranicar, a ?freshman studying business.

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Students get involved outdoors