Hawaii made easy: UNI Outdoors' style

Many college students can't wait for spring and summer break. They want the freedom to relax, take a break from homework and maybe visit a different part of the country. UNI Outdoors offers unique opportunities to travel during spring and summer break to many locations around the world with other UNI community members.

UNI Outdoors
UNI Outdoors takes a canoeing trip on the Rio Grande.

UNI Outdoors is a university program, which is housed and run by UNI's Wellness and Recreation Services (WRS), that offers the chance to visit places such as Florida, Colorado, Hawaii and even international destinations. Trip-goers can do activities such as backpacking, canoeing and snorkeling.

This spring break, UNI Outdoors will make a canoeing and backpacking trip to Florida and a backpacking trip to Utah. "Both of our spring break trips are going to amazing parts of the U.S.," said Houston Taylor, graduate assistant at the WRS Outdoor Recreation. "Our goal is that participants return from their adventure having immersed themselves in nature to lead more enriched lives."

While most of these trips might only last a week, a trip to Hawaii this May is 10 days. "The Hawaii trip is one of our more extended trips. It is a bit longer than our spring break and other summer trips," said Taylor. "It is pretty special because of its great pricing of only $1,000 plus airfare." Students on this trip will surf, paddleboard, snorkel, sea kayak, backpack and swim.

When compared to planning a trip with your friends on your own, Taylor points out some advantages that UNI Outdoors trips offer. "These trips are great because participants don't have to plan, acquire permits or drive. UNI Outdoors also provides all of the equipment, so participants don't have to buy equipment through outfitters. Because of this, participants are able to go to places cheaper than it would have cost them to plan the same trip on their own."

Not only are these trips adventurous, but they are also lead by UNI student volunteers. "Everything is done for participants by enthusiastic trip leaders that want nothing else besides their happiness," said Taylor. These trips also offer benefits beyond seeing the world and relaxing.

"We hope to promote outdoor education as an alternative activity for college students, faculty and staff and community members. We try to encourage team-building and camaraderie among our groups, as well as teach our participants the importance of environmental education and preservation," said Taylor.

The trip to Hawaii is scheduled for May 7 through 17. Participants must sign up in 174 WRS and purchase airfare by April 1. All trips are open to the public. For more information, visit the UNI Outdoors website or their Facebook page.