Dorm gnomes are everywhere at ETSU. One can observe them sitting in the same spot day-after-day, conducting the same activities over-and-over: reading, writing or gaming in the dormitories, The Cave and all other common areas across campus. Dorm gnomes are abundant and static like their porcelain cousins, the garden gnome, unwavering motionless symbols of perpetual serenity content with the way things are. It is time to break the mold.

College is all about experimentation and trying new things. Campus Recreation allows students to take advantage of ETSU’s unique geographic location. Explore the oldest mountain range on Earth by hiking, biking or camping with Outdoor Adventure.

“Our program is available to students, and faculty and staff who have access to the CPA,” said Outdoor Adventure Trip Instructor Jacob Norris. “Some people think that we are a club, but we are actually part of Campus Recreation, a division of Student Affairs.

There are many upcoming trips students can take advantage of to get out and relax. If you did not make Wednesday’s Moonlight Hike, there is another one coming up! This is a free trip for students and is a moderate 3-mile hike on Buffalo Mountain. More information is available by visiting Campus Recreation’s website (

It is time to put down the D&D dice. It is time to put down the Xbox controller. It is even time to put down the textbook for a brief moment to get outside. Upcoming trips include winter shuttles on Thursdays to various skiing and snowboarding resorts. These are no student left behind shuttles.

Norris said, “Our shuttle driver will be an outdoor adventure trip leader, and we love to ski/snowboard!…We will designate a time to meet up halfway through the session at the lift ticket station and again with an hour left. We can leave at anytime, depending on the needs of the group, and we do not leave anyone behind ever.”

According to ETSU doctoral candidate Cathy Landy, stepping outside for some fresh air can help with many problems students face. Stepping away from the computer screen into fresh air can help students lose weight and stress. Landy’s thesis is on the “State of Outdoor Education in Northeast Tennessee” and Pre-K teacher attitudes toward outdoor classrooms. She has worked in outdoor education for over 20 years.

Gregory N. Bratman published an article in “The Year in Ecology and Conservation Biology” that included stress reduction and attention restoration as cognitive effects of nature exposure.

Whatever the reasoning the experts seem to believe stepping outside can help, if one can’t make the trips above, Feb. 10-11, Outdoor Adventure will have an Overnight Backpacking trip to Big Laurel Branch.

“All of our overnight trips are led by qualified and certified student trip leaders who have extensive personal experience in the back country,” said Norris, “and we design our trips to be friendly to beginners; specifically those who have never been backpacking before!”

Classes are available for inexperienced outdoor enthusiast at Campus Recreation. Equipment rentals are also available. This information and more is available by contacting Campus Recreation Outdoor Adventure at or visiting their website