Tag Archives: ODAL

ODAL Alumni Spotlight: Conner Wagner

Photo by Conner Wagner

Photo by Conner Wagner

Name: Conner Wagner

Graduated: December 2014

Major: INTD in ODAL and Entrepreneurship

What he’s been up to: Graduating with my ODAL degree has given me a huge advantage in locking in jobs that allow me to travel and continue to pursue what I am passionate about. As soon as I graduated from SNC I landed a job with an awesome surf camp in Nicaragua as a surf guide. I spent half a year taking people surfing up and down the Nicaraguan coast and got paid for it. Now I am planning a return trip, but this time with the goal of opening my own place. My own little surfers paradise.

INTD Student Spotlight: Sydney Pinkerton

By Sydney Pinkerton

Sydney is majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies in Art and ODAL with a minor in Psychology. She graduates in May 2016.

Ever since I was very little, I knew that art would be my passion. I also knew that the mountains were calling and Ohio wasn’t the place for me. After high school I studied at an art institute in Colorado, but going to school to focus only on art seemed to take the enjoyment out of it for me and I knew I could get more out of my college career. While I vacillated, my mom suggested I look at SNC. All it took was a Google search of Lake Tahoe and a virtual tour of the campus for me to decide this was the place I needed to be.

Being at a SNC has reignited my love for learning and is setting me on a path to amazing opportunities and achievements.

Pinkerton-Sydney1-420Initially I majored in Psychology and Outdoor Adventure Leadership but I really missed art classes, so I decided on an Interdisciplinary ODAL and Fine Art major with a minor in Psychology. I’ve always felt a need to encourage individual empowerment and teach people self-love, and the path I am on now is taking me closer to making that passion a career. I hope to work in established adventure and art therapy programs on the way to starting my own!

I developed a deep connection and appreciation for horses riding and competing growing up, so my service learning project starts my journey into the world of therapy at Equus Insight in Reno, an equine therapy program for at risk youth. I helped with equine therapies for clients and worked on the ranch. I also designed and ran a weekend retreat for SNC students to come to the center and participate in art, adventure and equine activities with the horses. It’s so exciting to share this passion with others in a therapeutic way. I know that horses have been a large part of my life for a reason and I definitely see myself incorporating them more in my future.

I know that without the help and inspirations from the professors and peers I’ve met here, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I couldn’t be more grateful for the experiences I’ve had and the doors that have opened throughout this community.

This article was originally posted on the Sierra Nevada College website.

Why become a WO Leader?

Most students and faculty can attest to the fact that our school is unique. It’s tiny and tight-knit. It has majors such as Ski Business Resort Management and Outdoor Adventure Leadership. It’s right on Lake Tahoe and surrounded by mountains.

However, there’s one bizarre activity SNC runs that takes the cake: Wilderness Orientation.

This orientation event allows student leaders to take new fall freshman and transfer students on a four-day backpacking trip in Desolation Wilderness.

Say what?!

“There is nothing like walking through rugged and majestic terrain to prepare students with the skills they need to be successful in SNC life,” says Wilderness Orientation and ODAL program director Rosie Hackett. “Skills like endurance, resourcefulness, tenacity, compassion, etc. Students return from the wild with an extraordinary experience in common with almost 50 other SNC students, with a supportive friend network, and a true sense of place…appreciating the unique environment they choose for their home and educational journey.”

The WO experience is just as potent if not more potent for the student leaders,” Hackett continued. “Through WO, they are given an opportunity to test their skills and knowledge, developed on their educational journey at SNC, and apply their unique style to an authentic leadership role. WO leaders empower participants with lasting social communities and a greater sense of school spirit.”

Fall 2015 WO Leaders

Fall 2015 WO Leaders

Interested in becoming a WO leader? Sasha Severance, a Fall 2015 WO leader and recent SNC graduate, gave me a sneak peek into what it was like:

I found wilderness orientation to be of huge value for student leaders,” she said. “It allows us as students to further explore and practice our own, unique leadership style. Wilderness Orientation allows us as student leaders to practice what we’ve learned in the classroom and actually use it and practice it in the field. Teaching and sharing what you know is a huge part of the learning process, as well as being an opportunity to connect with others.”

Severance chose to be a WO leader to give back to the ODAL program, which she claims has shared her into the motivated and confident woman she is today. (right on, Sasha!)

“As student leaders, WO reminds us of why this place, SNC and Lake Tahoe, has been the perfect fit for us. SNC gives us the opportunity to learn in ways that are engaging, interactive, and empowering,” she said.

Severance gained a lot from her experience as a WO leader. It has taught her the importance of planning and preparing, and being successful in any job/profession/career and in life.

“Leading in the backcountry has shown me how to be open and accepting of others, no matter how different they are or their opinions may be from my own,” she added.  “Guiding in the backcountry has shown me how incredibly lucky and fortunate I am to have the opportunities that I have in life. I’ve also excelled in my communication skills, which has already helped me in and out of the classroom and in my current job today.”

Some students may be intimidated or turned off by the fact that you’re venturing into the wilderness with a bunch of strangers – but fear not.

“You are given a group of strangers and the responsibility of keeping them safe, showing them an amazing part of the place we live in, teaching them various outdoor skills and principles, and making sure that they are having fun. There will be plenty of times in the professional world where I will have to communicate and connect with random strangers, while still being myself as a unique individual while maintaining a professional appearance.”

Severance said the hardest part of the trip was leaving Desolation.

“Our entire group wasn’t ready to leave yet,” she said. “The days went by too fast. We wanted more time to spend out there together.”

Severance said being a WO leader was one of the best things she’s taken part in during her time at SNC.

“WO is an opportunity for you to give back, to share your knowledge, stories, and skills, and to meet a new group of amazing people. Being a WO leader also empowers you in so many ways,” she said. “And… you get to spend two weeks in Desolation Wilderness! Who wouldn’t want that? The first week you’re on a Leadership Expedition with your fellow WO leaders and the second week you are taking out your own group!”

Severance said those considering it, but who are hesitant, should just do it.

“For those on the fence, I was too,” she said. “I had bronchitis right before the Leadership Expedition – I didn’t know if I was going to be able to do it. But I am so glad that I went. I would have regretted it if I hadn’t done it.”

On top of all of these potential benefits to reap while having a blast in Desolation Wilderness, being a WO leader now counts for three credits of ODAL curriculum for future ODAL graduates (just make sure you sign up for the summer credit).

Hope to see you all ready to lead in August!

Learn about this semester’s Service Learning projects on Monday, Dec. 9

The editors of the Eagle’s Eye queried a group of students Monday night about what they like to read about in the campus newspaper. One of the top choices that the students mentioned were the interesting and exciting projects students created through Service Learning.

Every semester, Interdisciplinary Studies students develop a personal project which clears a path to their future career, according to an Eagle’s Eye article. SNC offers an innovative interdisciplinary class called Service Learning where students dig deeper and become involved in unique volunteer opportunities. The SNC website, says “Through the required Service Learning course, which challenges students to explore how their actions, their academic interests, and their own initiative can contribute to the community, students learn to make a difference AND maximize their learning. This hands-on, experiential program dares students to get out and do it—and they do.”

If you want to see the inspiring projects completed by this semester’s students, there will be presentations from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 9, in TCES 139. Stop by to hear the following students talk about their projects:

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Students lead parents on hike around Spooner Lake

By Rachael Blum
ODAL student

Parent’s Weekend on Oct. 12 was full of activities to better convey what Sierra Nevada College is all about! The men’s team competed in its first lacrosse game, parents could listen in on academic panels, President Gillette hosted a BBQ, and the ODAL program provided a hike around Spooner Lake.

It was a perfect fall afternoon to get parents moving and into the woods. The aspens were showing off their colors and the sky was as blue as ever; morale was high as about 24 parents and students walked the two-mile loop around Spooner Lake.

Screen shot 2013-10-16 at 12.36.48 PMThree students led the hike: Drew Fisher, a Journalism and ODAL major; Ashley Vander Meer, an Environmental Science and ODAL major; and myself, Rachael Blum, a Sustainability and ODAL major. Coming alongside us was Darrel Teittinen, an ODAL instructor at SNC.

The parents were very enthusiastic to learn about the Outdoor Adventure Leadership program and get outside. They were particularly impressed with the beauty of the area. Conversation was easy and continuous, bonds were made, and smiles were everywhere.

ODAL Program Chair Rosie Hackett added, “This was a great opportunity for our ODAL students to show off what they really do….active learning at its best. ODAL students can’t just talk about their education to their parents, they need to show their parents what they are capable of, i.e. LEADING!”

Good turnout for Adventurer Todd Offenbacher’s talk

Skiing-EMBClimber, skier and adventurer Todd Offenbacher spoke at Sierra Nevada College Oct. 8, highlighting his climbing trips in Alaska and his ski mountaineering in Antarctica. What an awesome presentation for ODAL students! There was great attendance as well from the community and SNC students.

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Have you ever? ODAL students reflect on life lessons in and out of the field

By Eliza Demarest

 “We have been learning to take care of ourselves in places that really matter. Crazy kids on the loose, but on the loose in the wilderness. That makes all the difference.”  -Terry and Renny Russell

By the time an Outdoor Adventure Leadership (ODAL) major at Sierra Nevada College reaches his/her senior year, each one has learned and mastered a variety of leadership skills and experienced amazing outdoor adventures.

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Corey Donohue guides a raft during an ODAL adventure.

Those adventures range from white-water rafting on the American River, to end-of-summer and mid-winter backpacking expeditions in Desolation Wilderness, to sea-kayaking in Tomales Bay, to rock climbing at Dinosaur Rock and an extended backpacking course in Utah’s Canyonlands.

Near the end of their Interdisciplinary Studies experience, all ODAL students are required to take Wilderness Ethics, ODAL’s capstone course. This semester, Rosie Hackett, ODAL program director, chose for her students, a “Have You Ever” prompt by Terry and Renny Russel from their book, “On the Loose.”

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