Pillbox

Discover the ’Burgh’s wild side

A first-year gets ready to kayak during the Pittsburgh Connections Orientation events. (credit: Allison Piper | Photo Staff) A first-year gets ready to kayak during the Pittsburgh Connections Orientation events. (credit: Allison Piper | Photo Staff) A group of first-years are prepared to get into the water to kayak. (credit: Allison Piper | Photo Staff) A group of first-years are prepared to get into the water to kayak. (credit: Allison Piper | Photo Staff)

Regardless of whether this summer was just a long snooze or a fast-paced adventure, getting back to the regular college grind might not be easy. The thoughts of picking up textbooks once again and midterms hovering on the horizon can be quite painful, and with the week spent with classes and the latter half of the weekend used to finish homework, enjoying a free Saturday seems to be the only light at the end of this long, dark tunnel.

While there are numerous options open to the student population at Carnegie Mellon for how to spend these special Saturdays, one of the most attractive, and definitely the most outdoorsy, ways is to utilize Pittsburgh Connections.

A program run by the Office of Student Activities, Pittsburgh Connections aims to mobilize students all over Western Pennsylvania by involving them in outdoor activities.

According to the Carnegie Mellon website, the program’s main objectives are to “help students develop and maintain a physically active lifestyle, build leadership skills, and increase their appreciation for the Western Pennsylvania region.”

The program hosts an Outdoor Adventure Series, which gives students an opportunity to travel to off-campus locations and take part in exciting activities at a partially subsidized fee. These activities take place every Saturday, and up to 40 students can participate simultaneously.

Depending on the weather conditions, students can take their pick of which activities interest them most. Those fond of water sports can have some fun kayaking, snorkeling, or rafting. Others, who are interested in more rugged activities, can opt for rock climbing, hiking, horseback riding, caving, and wilderness survival.

The program runs even during the cold Pittsburgh winter, and introduces activities like skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, and snow shoeing that prove apt for the weather. If none of these options appeal to you, there’s always paintballing or a scavenger hunt that are a little less in the outdoors and more in the fun.

Tickets for all these activities can be purchased at the University Center Information Desk. The schedule of activities for fall 2009 will be posted soon at http://www.studentaffairs.cmu.edu/StudentActivities/pghconnections/outdoor.html, and students can contact pgh-connections@andrew.cmu.edu for more information.