Exploring activities provide students lessons outside of classroom

Sharon Orr (far right) was among the business owners participating in the recent Explore Fayette Day activities to open the school year at Upper Iowa University. The event proved equally beneficial to both incoming students and the business owners.

Upper Iowa University students are once again becoming quickly acclimated not only to campus life in Fayette, but to the entire community as they learn lessons outside of the classroom.

“Research has shown time and time again that students who are involved are more likely graduate, which is really the ultimate goal. Getting involved can also help students meet people, gain valuable skills, connect coursework to practical experiences, and allow for students to have some fun,” explained Amy Tucker, UIU director of student activities. “We also encourage each Peacock to do a minimum of 10 hours of community service each academic year. It is important for us to give back to our communities for the greater good!”

To open the 2015-2016 school year, the UIU Office of Student Development (OSD) introduced freshmen and transfer students to area business owners and their respective businesses as part of Explore Fayette Day. Many of the participating businesses provided coupons or giveaway items to the new students. Stops were made at Poor’s Automotive, Gavin’s Foods, Pavo Blue, Touch of Elegance, Fayette Community Library, First State Bank, Gundersen Health System, Shiners, Zychski’s Boutique, Fayette Hardware, Northwestern Mutual/Shrimptastic, DT’s, Scott’s Pharmacy, and Dave’s Standard.

“Explore Fayette was a mutually beneficial event for new students and Fayette business owners. New students learned about what Fayette has to offer and the businesses got students in their doors from day one,” noted Tucker. “At UIU, we encourage each student to get involved in at least one activity outside of the classroom. We call this the Engage1 Initiative.”

“We (UIU) look for ways to establish relationships between our students and community members,” agreed Daryl Grove, UIU director of student leadership and adventure. “Explore Fayette is a starting place to foster the positive interactions.”

In addition to career development, counseling, service learning and similar assistance to students, the OSD also provides UIU students with a variety of wellness programs and events to participate in throughout the school year.

“Adventure-based programming like intramurals and Outdoor Pursuits work due to the engaging and captivating nature of the activities,” said Grove. “In addition to learning new skills when trying new activities, students like to compete and test their physical and mental capabilities. When someone believes in him- or herself to achieve something, those confident beliefs play a significant role in their future success.”

Among the popular activities is a full slate of intramural and outdoor adventure opportunities. In addition to already hosting a homerun derby, and bean bag and ladder golf tournaments, the OSD officially opened the UIU Flag Football League season on Sunday.

At the same time, UIU’s Outdoor Pursuits schedule includes fishing, camping, paintball, skiing, and white-water rafting on Wisconsin’s Wolf River over the next few months. Outdoor Pursuits also provides camping gear, canoes, kayaks, wet suits, bicycles, fishing supplies, and a large selection of other equipment for students to check out at no cost.

Tucker said the University’s entire OSD staff believes time spent outside of the classroom allows students to develop leadership skills and connect coursework to practical experiences. Thus, they encourage all students to take advantage of the additional lessons in life which are available by participating in both community and campus activities.

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