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Notre Dame Outing Club offers students opportunity to experience nature

| Thursday, September 19, 2019

Sophomore Ryan Wigglesworth, president of the Notre Dame Outing Club, wanted to create a space where he could share his passion for the outdoors. This nature-oriented club existed a few years ago, but Wigglesworth wanted to revamp the program.

“An outing club was something that I really wanted when I was looking at colleges,” Wigglesworth said. “Notre Dame didn’t really have that, so that was my motivation when starting the club up.”

Wigglesworth created the club last spring, and the 2019-2020 academic year is the club’s official kick off. The club is holding its first day trip Saturday, where 21 students will travel to Warren Dunes State Park in Michigan. 

Leadership of the club is currently working on plans for the rest of the year with possible outings including a backpack trip, a ski day, kayaking and short hikes, Wigglesworth said. The club is open to all Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross students. No prior outdoors experience is necessary.

“We’re trying to have a variety of activities, so there’s room for everyone to come on with a range of skill levels,” he said. “I would encourage anyone who is interested to sign up and try it out, even if it’s just for one afternoon.”

The club has an official Instagram account, @outingclubnd, where the group will share pictures and stories from a variety of trips. Instagram has been one way Wigglesworth and the other officers have reached students with an interest in the club.

“I have been pretty overwhelmed by the amount of attention the club has gotten,” Wigglesworth said. “At the activities fair, we got 270 people to sign up which was pretty cool, and the Instagram has exploded.”

Freshman Mary Kate Temple is one of the new members of the club participating in the trip to Michigan this weekend. Temple has never visited Warren Dunes, but she said she is excited to explore the area with her classmates.

“I knew coming to Notre Dame that I wanted to join a hiking or outdoors club,” she said. “I’m hoping to meet new friends from the club, and also get to spend some time in nature to get away from all of the stress and busyness of campus.”

Wigglesworth said he hopes to create an atmosphere where students can connect with others who share similar interests. He also acknowledged the positive impact that nature has had on his life and his desire to share his passion with students across the Notre Dame community.

Wigglesworth spoke to the club’s goal of venturing off campus to foster community. 

“Something that we really want to focus on as a club is doing more outside trips that aren’t at Notre Dame,” Wigglesworth said. “I think it’ll help students break out of patterns and find new stuff to do over the weekend, as well as create a community of outdoors-minded people here on campus. This club is special to me because I like being outdoors a lot, and I also like other people who like being outdoors a lot, so I’m hoping it will attract others who feel the same way.” 

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