From alternative diets to intramural athletics, Pacific University students embrace healthy lifestyles in new ways, on and off campus.
Food is only one pillar of good health, and students at Pacific University don’t get to ignore the others—particularly physical activity.
Many freshmen kick off their Pacific experience with a Voyage, offered through Pacific Outback. They spend a few days before classes begin bonding with their classmates while climbing Smith Rock, shooting the Deschutes River, surfing off the Oregon Coast or foraging the urban delights of Portland.
Throughout the year, Outback offers even more outdoor and urban adventures for students.
The program “opens doors for life-long recreation,” said Chad Toomey ’94, Outback director. “We very much focus on human-powered endeavors and activities that invite participants to work with one another and move their bodies to solve problems.
“I do very much view our program as a wellness program.”
Beyond the immediate activity, Outback experiences also give students confidence and leadership experience.
That’s exactly what Forrest Carpenter ’12 experienced as an Outback trip leader. One of his most memorable experiences, he said, was a spring break backpacking trip down the northern California coast.
“Many of the lessons I learned from this trip I have been able to apply not only to my trip leadership, but to my academic, social and working parts of my life,” he said.
“I think that is one of the greatest benefits of being a part of this program: the ability to use the lessons learned in almost every part of life. The Outback not only gave me the opportunity to grow as an individual, but it provided me an escape from the stresses of college and course work.”
Back on the Forest Grove campus, students also enjoy activity in and out of the gym. Recent improvements to the Bill and Cathy Stoller Center, Pacific’s athletic complex, are helping more students get moving, said Steve Klein, director of student activities and the University Center. Use of the Stoller Center has significantly increased with the addition of new fitness equipment and large TV screens in the weight room, as well as artificial turf in the fieldhouse.
Eventually, he said, a climbing wall or bouldering site might be another addition to serve student interests.
Students also have access to the City of Forest Grove’s aquatic center and to bowling at Rainbow Lanes in Forest Grove.
Pacific also offers 21 competitive intercollegiate athletics, as well as a rich intramural program that draws about a third of the student population, said Chris Stanley, director of intramural sports.
Students play side by side with faculty and staff at sports including indoor soccer, tennis, flag football, coed volleyball and racquetball.
“It really gives non-collegiate athletes the chance to get their competition fix,” he said.