Exploring Kent Through the Outdoors

Adventure Center programming provides a personalized and holistic focus on each student’s success

The temperature is rising, trees are blooming and the sun is shining. Spring makes for the perfect weather to get outside and try something new. That is one of the main goals of the Adventure Center, housed in Recreation and Wellness Services at Kent State University. 

“I like to think of it as a community where people who enjoy the outdoors can come and meet other like-minded people, learn new skills, make new friends and try new things,” said Chris Lukas, assistant director of Outdoor Adventure and Operations. “We have the trips, we have the clinics, we oversee the pin bike and scooter program, and we do custom programs.”  

The clinics hosted through the Adventure Center range from a variety of topics but are made to give students the tools to be successful in their ventures outdoors, providing a personalized and holistic focus on each student’s success.  

“If people want to come and learn outdoor skills, like how to pack a backpack, how to start a campfire or how to belay for people when they're rock climbing, we do those clinics multiple times every week,” Lukas said.  

People backpacking

Along with informational clinics, the center also hosts multiple hiking and camping trips for students with no experience required.  

“We do have some paid trips where we're doing a couple of day hikes. So, if you're not ready to go on a 40-mile backpacking trip or carrying all your stuff on your back, you can come and do a day trip with us where we maybe hike four miles on a Saturday,” Lukas said.

The center hosts paddling trips that range from an hour to three hours along with a wide variety of activities, Lukas said.  

Each trip also has an accompanying pre-trip meeting to get students prepared and teach them the skills needed to be successful.  

“A lot of times we have pre-trip meetings where we gauge people's experience levels and things like that,” Lukas said. “We'll show them how to set up their tent, we'll show them how to load and carry their backpack, so it's not as painful as it might be.”  

team building exercise

Paid trips are not the only thing the Adventure Center offers, the center also hosts free clinics and activities that students can take part in as well.  

“So, some of the free offerings are things like some of those clinics, like the Introduction to Climbing clinic, we offer every Monday and Tuesday,” Lukas said. “If people want to learn how to climb and maybe take that skill outdoors, that's a good kind of like launching point for that.”

Other than clinics and classes, Lukas also recommended that students check out the disc golf course that wraps around the Warren Student Recreation and Wellness Center as a fun way to enjoy the outdoors.  

“You can rent discs for free from the welcome desk. So yeah, that's a really easy one, come in and grab some discs and get a scorecard,” Lukas said. “It's a great way to be outside, breathe in the fresh air, you know, bring some friends along and have conversations while you're walking.”  

With so much to do on campus, Lukas suggests that students check out the Adventure Center website. There, students can see the resources for different kinds of activities like hiking, biking, climbing, and places to explore in Kent.  For students wanting to make their own outdoor adventure, they can rent equipment through the Adventure Center.  

"We also have a rental center where we rent outdoor gear,” Lukas said “So, if you come to us and you do a backpacking trip, but you don't have the gear. Well, you know, for a couple of bucks, you can rent a tent and a sleeping bag, and you can go do your own camping trip,”

students rock climbing

Along with renting gear, eligible students can receive clothing and outdoor gear through the Wilderness Wardrobe program.  

“Our Wilderness Wardrobe is gear and apparel for outdoor adventures, so people can come and we have things like hiking boots that have been donated, or like nice, insulated jackets, or even like rock climbing shoes, backpacks and sleeping bags,” Lukas said. “If we have it in the wilderness wardrobe, they can apply to just take it and have it for free.”

Whether students are looking to learn a new skill or find something fun to do outdoors, the Adventure Center provides numerous opportunities.  

“The goal with all of our programs is to give people the skills, so that they don't have to come to the Adventurer Center to do a program. Once they've interacted with us, they can go and do these things on their own,” Lukas said.  

Learn about the Adventure Center.

Adventure Center Outdoor Resources.  

POSTED: Friday, April 19, 2024 10:30 AM
Updated: Thursday, May 23, 2024 10:26 AM
Tanner Poe, Flash Communications
Chris Lukas