Step Outside of UD: The rise of Venture Club

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It can be easy to forget all of the opportunities to experience nature and outdoor adventures when one lives near dusty Dallas, as well as how important it is to refresh one’s soul by getting away from all of the noise. Besides, it seems everyone is too caught up in college stress to wander very far from campus. However, some UD students had decided to create a club dedicated to this very matter, yet it remains somewhat unknown. 

UD’s Venture Club serves to provide students — especially freshmen — with the chance to engage in fun and exciting outdoor activities with like-minded peers.

They host events not only to get people outdoors but to prepare people for the outdoors, including hiking, kayaking, visiting the aquarium and indoor rock climbing.

On Sept. 17, Venture Club hosted an off-campus trip to Mineral Wells which garnered 53 sign-ups. By Monday, Venture Club and its officers were already planning their next event.

Emily Dietrich, a junior business major and the president of Venture Club, has always been involved outdoors.

 “I grew up in the outdoors with my entire family. We went canoeing and all that stuff. Right now we live on a lake, and we do a lot of lake things. The outdoors has always been a part of my life,” she said.

Clair Shrake, a junior  English major and vice president of Venture, described her life at home in St. Louis, Missouri.

 “I lived in the middle of the city but I lived right next to the Mississippi River,” she said.

Venture Club gave Shrake the chance to get off campus, something that can be especially difficult for freshmen without cars. 

“Freshman year, I loved the chance to get off campus,” Shrake reminisced. “They had the lake day, freshman year. It was the first event I went on. I made friends that way.”  

Anna Sobczak, sophomore education major and an officer of Venture Club, initially joined to get off  campus and get to know the area.

 “Being from out of state, I didn’t know much about Texas,” she said.“It was a good club to get to know the natural area outside of campus.”

Shrake spoke about the purpose of Venture Club. “[To] give people the opportunity to get outdoors and get off campus, freshmen who don’t have a car, and fill the community with people who do outside things together,” she explained.

Nature is an enriching way to step back from the chaos of life and refocus oneself. Dr. Gregory Roper, the dean of students, considers the mission of Venture Club to be an important one.

“We all need to get outside in nature; I think it’s an important part of mental health, for one thing, but it’s also about enjoying the beauty of God’s creation,” Roper remarked.

However, organizing off campus activities is not an easy feat. Dietrich discussed some of the difficulties in managing the club.

 “It took a lot of phone calls, budgeting and lots of runs to Target,” Dietrich revealed.

“We do not advertise our club as much as other clubs because we rely on our student drivers as all our events are off campus,” she explained. “That is also way too expensive.”

Venture club advertises their events to their Instagram followers and to people on their email list. “Dr. Roper is on our email,” explained Shrake. Yet, he had communicated that he was unable to make it. Roper publicizing the Mineral Wells trip to the entire university in his weekly email was a surprise to Venture Club. 

“I try to mention anything interesting that’s happening on campus or off,” explained Roper. “And I’ve been to Mineral Wells with the Scouts, and know how much fun it can be.”

For those needing a respite, the Venture Club is a great way to explore the outdoors. The DFW area has a lot more to offer than one would think, with scenic hiking trails and beautiful lakes. Still, you don’t necessarily need to be a part of a club. For those who would rather do their own thing, there are plenty of opportunities that await.

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