The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

Write for Us
Want your voice to be heard? Submit a letter to the editor, send us an op-ed pitch or check out our open positions for the chance to be published by the Daily Utah Chronicle.
Print Issues

Recreation classes offer students a break

By By Brandon Beifuss

With five national parks in the state of Utah, there is plenty of room to explore the scenery.

It should come as no surprise, then, that the Natural Resources Learning Program in the parks, recreation and tourism department has seen an increase in student credit hours over last year’s enrollment, to the tune of 500 hours.

Nathan Bricker, the assistant director of the NRLP, said, “75 percent (of the classes) or better are two-credit programs.”

That means that there are plausibly 200 more students in the NRLP program than last year. Students are deciding to undertake outdoor activities associated with this program on a more frequent basis, and for college credit.

The NRLP has done more marketing, but Bricker attributes the increase mainly to student population this year. The total number of students for fall semester is 29,284.

Rafting, hiking, biking, skiing, snowboarding and other outdoor activities, given the abundance of nature near the U, is reason in and of itself to head outdoors. Given the accessibility of the program, it is not surprising that the NRLP has had its best year since 2001-2002, Bricker said. The credits are based on a credit-no credit system with the goal of promoting comprehension of preservation and responsible recreation.

“I wouldn’t call them hard courses.” Bricker said. “They require an academic endeavor for what would be typical of college credit, but it is something you can do and enjoy at the same time.”

Students don’t have to worry about cramming for an exam or rigorous term-long preparations, since the activity takes place on a specific weekend or set of days. Depending on the course, there could be a simple 25 or 50-question test, a brief oral presentation of an investigated topic, journaling, pictorial representation or technical testing for courses like Avalanche Awareness.

However, these classes are still far less work than what is found in a normal class given the hobby-based nature of the courses, as well as the infrequency of the homework. Typically, the class pursues the activity listed in the course title with an assignment or two on the side to earn a couple of easy credits.

The program is subdivided into water-based, land-based and snow-based classes. U students have access to all the gear they could need for these courses through the Outdoor Recreation Program, a subset of the student affairs department. Its rental shop near the south side of the Benchmark and Shoreline student apartments allows students to receive discounts on equipment because of the tuition that students have already paid. This shop leases all of the equipment a student would want or need for all of the NRLP programs, as well as any personal excursions for a reduced price.

“We advance rigorous interdisciplinary inquiry, international involvement and social responsibility,” according to the U’s mission statement.

The NRLP and the equipment provided by the ORP allow students of all disciplines to experience the diverse environments of Utah as well as to promote social responsibility in the Leave No Trace principles, which are incorporated into all of the programs. Student tuition funds the NRLP and as such, the classes are credit-giving. It makes sense to utilize a program that is already paid for with tuition dollars to experience a reprieve from regular classes to undertake what I would deem to be an environmental-diversity credit.

[email protected]

Leave a Comment

Comments (0)

We welcome feedback and dialogue from our community. However, when necessary, The Daily Utah Chronicle reserves the right to remove user comments. Posts may be removed for any of the following reasons: • Comments on a post that do not relate to the subject matter of the story • The use of obscene, threatening, defamatory, or harassing language • Comments advocating illegal activity • Posts violating copyrights or trademarks • Advertisement or promotion of commercial products, services, entities, or individuals • Duplicative comments by the same user. In the case of identical comments only the first submission will be posted. Users who habitually post comments or content that must be removed can be blocked from the comment section.
All The Daily Utah Chronicle Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *