Being a student at the “University of the Best City Ever” means that countless attractions and world-renowned landmarks are only a walk or a MUNI ride away from campus. But opportunities for students to explore their surroundings also exist far beyond San Francisco’s city limits. With Koret’s Outdoor Adventures program, students can go on a variety of excursions that are organized and run through USF, and feature trip locations such as Vacaville, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and the Sacramento River. The program provides a way for students, faculty and staff members to travel to different parts of the Bay Area while engaging in a variety of outdoor activities.
This semester, Outdoor Adventures is offering a total of 12 trips, three of which have already taken place. On Sept. 14 a group of Dons embarked on an all-day whitewater-rafting trip. The two other adventures that have already taken place were the “Urban Hiker” trip, a trek throughout the city that took participators from Telegraph Hill to Lombard Street, and a day visit to Great America, an amusement park in Santa Clara.
“On Urban Hiker, the students got to explore San Francisco like a local. They got to enjoy amazing views while on a four and a half mile hike. They got to explore the city’s secret stairways, hilltop views, and hiking trails,” Kristina Alai, the head organizer of USF Outdoor Adventures, said. “At Great America, students got to experience the tallest and fastest wooden roller coaster in Northern California.”
Alai, who is also the Rec Sports Department Coordinator at Koret, believes that the events present a chance for students to familiarize themselves with their surroundings as well as their fellow classmates.
“As a new student to a new city, it can be difficult to learn about the city or even find a group of friends to go on day trips with,” Alai said. “What is beneficial about these trips is that they give students a discounted rate to explore these places, (and also) the freedom to roam or be with their friends, and return back safely with the transportation we provide…this definitely strengthens our USF community.”
USF sophomore Grant Tercero went kayaking in Sausalito last year through the Outdoor Adventures program, and enjoyed the heavy exercise and opportunities for exploration.
“It was a cool outing, (and) I received the chance to know the geography of the bay a little better and row myself to four different cities in two hours,” Tercero said. “(I also) pretty much solidified a friendship with a girl named Jayne due to our kayak flipping over. Some good old-fashioned bonding there.”
Outdoor Adventure trips are offered each Saturday, and prices are generally set at a 60 percent discount. Students can sign up for adventures at the Koret front desk, and all groups depart from the Koret lobby on the day of the trip. Upcoming events include horseback riding on Sept. 21, and a San Francisco Giants baseball game on Sept. 28.
“The popular ones tend to be the Giants game, whitewater rafting, sea kayaking, and the ski and snowboarding trips offered in the spring semester,” Alai said. “This is the first year we are offering laser tag and indoor kart racing. It will be interesting to see how students enjoy them, since they have requested to have these trips offered.”