Monday, November 21, 2011

Ferrum Outdoors- A Look Back at the Fall Semester by Aaron Conover

The Climbing Wall
The sunlight hitting the trees and hills was at a noticeably different angle the other day as I was driving in the mountains. This got me thinking about the seasonal change that is around the corner and the transition from warm days to winter. It also reminded me of all the great adventures that Ferrum Outdoors had this fall so far.

We traveled for some of these adventures and for others students were able to play right on campus.  One of our most popular activities was the Night Zip Line. Participants donned harnesses and helmets to traverse the High Ropes Course then stepped off the platform into the darkness for their zip ride. Students had many other opportunities for being active including weekly bouldering wall, disc golf, trail running and mountain bike sessions plus the rock climbing tower.

Night Time Canoeing
The region around Ferrum offers a wide variety of outdoor-based activities and we did our best to take advantage of them. Philpott Lake had the water and the night provided the stars for an evening canoe trip and the following weekend we paddled kayaks down the James River. Then we switched out the lifejackets for trail shoes for a hike in Rock Castle Gorge.  The Radical Reels Tour, which is part of the Banff Mountain Film Festival, brought us to the edge of our seats at the Jefferson Center in Roanoke with adrenalin filled films about mountain biking, skiing, rock climbing, kayaking and longboarding, which made everyone ready for an even bigger adventure.

The Upper Gauley River in West Virginia gave us just that. This section has over forty rapids including five solid Class V’s making it one of the premier rafting destinations in the country. It can be paddled throughout the year but for a short time a release from the dam on Summersville Lake brings the water flow up to an impressive level and we got to experience it.

Kayaking on the Chesapeake Bay
You may notice there is a water theme going on. Well, it continues. Ferrum Outdoors partnered with the City of Roanoke Parks and Recreation’s outdoor department and we traversed over to Mathews, VA on the Chesapeake Bay for some sea kayaking during fall break. This location is unique because it allows kayaking in the Bay right from the beach and exploring the waterways that flow into it. A full moon paddle and one at sunrise topped off this excellent trip.

The Roanoke Outdoor Circus came to town and Ferrum Outdoors helped out and participated during the inaugural weekend of this completely outdoor recreation focused event. Activities included slack lining and bike trials shows, live music, sustainability activities, educational programs, trail running and mountain bike races, a city wide gear treasure hunt plus local vendors on hand providing equipment demos. We teamed up with members of the Recreation Club to manage the two campground areas that were on site. Everyone did a great job and enjoyed in the event.

We decided to wrap up the Ferrum Outdoors season with rock climbing and sailing. Pilot Mountain State Park in North Carolina has a large range of climbs that sit on top of what looks like a butte, which provides excellent views and an increased feeling of exposure while climbing. Pilot Mountain is one of our favorite areas to go and all the climbers pushed themselves until their arms and legs where spent.

Sailing on Smith Mountain Lake
Those who signed up for sailing were rewarded with a breezy and sunny day, the perfect combination.  Ferrum Outdoors is a member of the Virginia Inland Sailing Association on Smith Mountain Lake and their intercollegiate sailing program and they provided us with Flying Scot sailboats, instructors and the marina from which to operate. Flying Scots are fast, Olympic class boats that are responsive and stable and with experienced skippers and teamwork, we were able to put them through their paces.

We were sad to wrap up the fall but felt very fortunate to have had these opportunities. We appreciate the support of the administration, faculty, staff and student leaders that make it all happen. The spring semester is just as chocked full of activities so be on the look out for what is coming up.

See you out there!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Support Ferrum Basketball at the Roanoke Tip-Tournament on Sunday, November 20

This Sunday, November 20, come support the Ferrum College basketball team during the Roanoke Tip-Off Tournament. Join other Ferrum fans in Roanoke College's Bast Gymnasium at 2 PM to watch the Panthers take on the Maroons. Then join us for the Post-Game Tailgate at Mac & Bob's (316 East Main St, Salem, VA) and meet Coach Tharp, Coach Fuller and the Team!

The Tailgate Party is $5 per person, cash bar. For more information about this event or to RSVP, please contact Ferrum College at 1-877-FERRUM1 or by November 16, 2011.

Thanksgiving Message from Ferrum College President Dr. Jennifer L. Braaten

Dear Students, Faculty & Staff,

It’s hard to believe that the end of the semester is in sight! I want to wish you all the blessings of Thanksgiving and safe travels to those heading out of town. The Empty Bowls event last Sunday, sponsored by the Art Department, was a great success. I’m reminded that the name “empty bowls” can also present us with the opportunity for a prayerful reflection on the bounty in which most of us share.

We want to congratulate the football team for finishing 7-3 overall and 6-1 in conference play, earning a USA South runner-up finish under Head Coach Dave Harper and his staff. We anticipate All-Conference honors for many of our players, which will be announced later this week.

Congratulations as well to our new women's swimming team and Coach Lindsay DeLaRosby on winning their inaugural home meet last Friday night at the Swartz Gym pool. The team posted an impressive 110-60 win over Emory & Henry, with over 100 fans in attendance!

Very special congratulations are also in order for Gilda Woods, Associate Vice President and Dean of Admissons, and everyone who had a hand in our most successful Panther Preview to date last Saturday! In our various capacities, whether teaching and learning in the classroom, working on musical productions and dramatic plays, or taking part in various student activities, we all make a great Ferrum College team!


Jennifer L. Braaten