Prickly Pear, Yearbook of Abilene Christian University, 2006 Page: 86
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Eighteen ACU students began a September Saturday early, about 25
miles outside of town, removing vines from trees in Abilene State Park.
This project was the official beginning of a new club, the Outdoor Club,
which focuses not only on enjoying the outdoors but also taking care of it.
Dusty Vaughn, senior biology major from Nashville and founding member,
said the club is rare, especially with its strong service focus.
"The purpose of the outdoor club is to promote outdoor knowledge, ethics
and service, so we're much more than your typical'go out and go camping
every weekend' outdoor club. We really want to bring a service emphasis
and a Christian emphasis into it," he said."VWe want to teach people skills
and the importance of the outdoors as well as discuss ethical issues of use
and things like that, and then go out and serve or just go out and have fun."
Vaughn is one of six founding members who look to expand the club to
its full potential quickly, and in the process, help students, faculty and staff
enjoy the outdoors and better understand the outdoor world around them.
"It's important to realize that we are connected to the natural world,
we can never be outside of that; nature is always going to be stronger than
what we can build, what we can do," Vaughn said."I think we can find a lot
of spirituality in the outdoors. We can find ourselves, our soul in the outdoors.
But most importantly, the earth is what supports us, and we need to
learn how to take care of it properly and preserve it for future generations."
The club's first event was indicative of its service emphasis as it brought
a group to Abilene State Park to clear away non-native vines that were overtaking
the surrounding trees, limiting their growth.
The club began with only the six founding members but had several potential
members on the first activity as a way to introduce them to the club,
hoping several would decide tojoin. Mike Miles, freshman youth and family
Right: Andrea Gallman, senior secondary
education major from Sugarland,
gives information about the Outdoor
Club to Joshua Deschenes, senior
communication major from San Antonio.
The club set up a tent in the campus
center to recruit more members.
Opposite page: Miranda Richardson,
sophomore art history major from San
Antonio, climbs a mobile rock wall in
the mall area. The mobile rock wall
was brought to campus for a day by
the Outdoor Club in April.
ministry major from Ann Arbor, Mich., was one of those prospective members
and said he is interested in the club, especially after the project, because
of his love for the outdoors.
Miles said he believes that along with enjoying God's creation comes the
responsibility of taking care of it.
"I think we have an obligation, a duty to it and not just as Christians but
as humans, to take care of the world and that's one of the top things to do
on my list of priorities," he said.
During the summer before school started, Vaughn brainstormed with
fellow founder Brett Deaton and was able to start the club within a couple
weeks after returning to campus in the fall.
Vaughn said he originally got the idea after working with national organizations
the past two summers, such as the American Hiking Society. He
said he knew of many students who have a passion for the outdoors and
hopes this club will help to bring them together and spread that passion
Dr. Jim Cooke, professor of environmental science and the adviser of
the club, said his biggest concern is that the club's leadership is comprised
mainly of upperclassmen, leading to a possible fall-off.
"I'd like to see something like this continue, but the only way that it will
continue is for it to be passed down to younger students; there have to be
people who will carry the torch after the first leadership group leaves," he
said."So there is a big push to try to bring in freshmen, sophomores,juniors
into the program and to provide for them a sense of ownership in the program
and opportunities to contribute."
By: Brian Schmidt, adapted from the Optimist
Photo by Anna Carroll
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Abilene Christian University. Prickly Pear, Yearbook of Abilene Christian University, 2006, yearbook, 2006; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth39882/m1/89/: accessed July 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Abilene Christian University Library.