The EAC and SOS creates Environmental Recreation Equal Access Subsidy

Students will have the opportunity for equal access to EAC recreational trips


Photo by Submitted

The EAC and SOS partner together to create Environmental Recreation Equal Access Subsidy for UW-Eau Claire students.

In a partnership between the Student Office of Sustainability and the Environmental Adventure Center, students will have the opportunity for equal access to the EAC recreational trips.

Dating back to the fall of 2020, Lauren Becker, the director of SOS and a comprehensive environmental geography student, had reached out to Al Wiberg, the assistant director of EAC, in regards to their accessibility initiatives. 

Then, both the SOS and EAC spent time exploring different possibilities for the increase of physical, financial and social accessibility to the seasonal adventure trips led by the EAC. 

Together, they were able to work on a proposal that would recognize systemic barriers that include: financial cost, limited gear sizes, lack of adaptive programing, gender-based violence, racial discrimination and not knowing of opportunities due to lack of representation. 

On Feb. 3 their proposal, the “Equal Access Subsidy” that had been drafted by both parties, was passed unanimously through the SOS and now works to provide students with equal opportunities through the EAC.

Through the subsidy, students will be able to submit requests via a Qualtrics survey and give answers to the following questions:

  • Click the box if: I experience systemic barriers to outdoor recreation.
  • Click the box if: I experience financial need.
  • Enter in the textbox: please describe how this outdoor recreation experience will positively impact you.

Once the questions are answered and the Qualtrics survey form is submitted, students will be contacted by Al WIberg, head of the EAC, with an equal access code along with instruction on how to continue the process of applying for an adventure trip.

The EAC puts on a large array of trips throughout the school year that gives students the chance to try and explore something they haven’t experienced before. 

Photo by Submitted

Trips include cross country skiing, fat-tire biking, ice climbing, night cross country skiing, night snow tubing, rock climbing and snowshoeing. The trips run from February to mid-April. 

The overall goal for the SOS and EAC in creating the subsidy is to create an opportunity to provide access to the outdoors by granting those with all types of ability levels, financial needs and underrepresented participants to have a part in an all-inclusive program.

Lindsey Henricks, a third-year environmental geology student, was one of the SOS members who voted to pass the proposal. 

“I’m excited for it. I’ve never done anything with the EAC before, but I think what they do is awesome,” Henricks said. “This proposal was a really great way to combine the SOS’s goals of connecting to the environment as well as giving people the opportunity to do so who may not have been able to before.”

Becker had given the following statement, as the director of the SOS:

“The Student Office of Sustainability is committed to pursuing equality-centered programming and sustainable initiatives to directly benefit our fellow students,” Becker said. “100% student-run and student-funded, the Student Office of Sustainability is led by you.” 

Any student is able and encouraged to apply for the subsidy.

For more information on the EAC adventure trips, take a look at their website.

Huettner can be reached at [email protected]