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Student Life

On Campus Living Survival Guide

When you ask students why they chose to attend Appalachian State University, they almost always mention the beautiful scenery, or the mountains, or say they love being in the outdoors.

Despite being 15 minutes away from hiking trails, lakes, and rivers on the Blue Ridge Parkway, students living on campus may find it a chore to get outside. Most students don’t bring cars to school their freshman year, but if you do, the freshman parking lot is a 20-minute AppalCart ride away from campus. Through University Recreation and Outdoor Programs, however, there are ways to get outdoors on- and off-campus even when you don’t have a car.


Outdoor Programs leads over 30 trips during weekends and breaks throughout the semester. The trip fee, which ranges from $26 for hiking day trips to $208 for longer expeditions, covers travel, lunch, equipment, and instruction from experienced Outdoor Programs employees. Non-students can also attend trips for a slightly higher fee, so you can take your parents, siblings, or friends from home. There are trips for hiking, trail running, stand-up paddleboarding, white water rafting, rock climbing, and mountain biking. Group sizes are small so participants can get maximum training and attention from trip leaders. To sign up, visit the Outdoor Programs base camp at the Student Recreation Center.

Pre-trip training

No experience is required for a vast majority of Outdoor Programs trips and events, but there are programs at the SRC to help you succeed and impress your peers when you hit the lake, mountain, or trail. Before taking on a kayaking trip, attend a free kayak roll clinic at the pool in the SRC. Clinics are almost every Wednesday during the semester from 7-10 p.m. You don’t have to stay for an entire session, because trainers will work with you individually until you feel confident navigating the kayak.

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🧗‍♂️🧗‍♀️🧗‍♂️🧗‍♀️🧗‍♂️ Wanting to see what a little bit of rock climbing in the High Country looks like? We have 2 rock climbing trips happening September 7th and 8th!!! No experience needed. Come sign up at OP Basecamp in the Student Rec Center

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Maybe you’re dreaming of conquering climbs at Grandfather Mountain with the climbing coalition. Brush up on your skills first at the 50-foot tall rock climbing wall in the SRC. Climbing shoes and other equipment is provided through the base camp office. If you have been on trips and know your way around climbing, camping, or aquatics, Outdoor Programs holds an Instructor Development Program every fall. Students who complete two trips and two IDP classes can help plan and lead trips of their own.

Bike App

When walking and driving down Rivers Street, the bright yellow, solar powered Bike App trailer is hard to miss. Bike App is another program from University Recreation that aims to reduce students’ dependence on cars when getting around Boone. The maintenance trailer is open Monday-Wednesday from 11:30 a.m. until 4 p.m., and during that time students can take their bicycles for minor repairs and tune-ups.

Beyond the trailer, Bike App offers sessions on commuting safely and maintaining your bike, as well as introductory workshops for beginning bikers. When you have free transportation, you can find your own outdoor adventures — and stay active while doing it.

Articles written by students, for students

Nora Smith graduated ASU in December 2019 with a degree in Journalism after living with The Winkler Organization for 2 years. She is currently working in Pittsburg, PA. Follow Nora on Instagram.

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