White Water Rafting on the Gauley

Submitted by Bob Edwards
Public Relations Dept. Asst.
Glenville State College

Glenville, WV - Colleges and universities across America are continually looking for ways to attract students in the highly-competitive market of higher education. Although academics continue to be the number one consideration, gone are the days when academics were the sole consideration in choosing a school. In today's world, a wide variety of factors can determine where a student chooses to further his or her education. Athletics, student activities, cultural events, facilities, location, diversity, and costs all factor in with academic considerations in selecting a school.

Glenville State College's goal of becoming one of the best small public liberal art schools in America means giving students new and innovated reasons to enroll. The High Adventure program at GSC is proving to be a valuable asset in recruiting new students to the GSC campus. The GSC High Adventure brochure is the most requested by high school students considering enrolling at Glenville State College. "This program gives students an opportunity to experience activities that they would not get anywhere else especially students from urban areas that don't have the wonderful natural resources that we have here in West Virginia," said Duane Chapman, Vice President for Enrollment Management at Glenville State College.

The unique High Adventure program at GSC offers students, faculty and staff the opportunity to enjoy outdoors activities and participate in adventures that are enjoyable and challenging for beginners as well as experienced outdoor adventurers. Students can experience the thrills and challenges of biking, mountain biking, hiking, backpacking, horse-back riding, fly fishing, whitewater rafting, kayaking, skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, ice-skating, sledding, paintball trips, and even the extremes of sky-diving. Some of the excursions are day trips, while others are weekend overnighters.

A ski trip to Killington Resort in Vermont highlighted last winter's activities, and the High Adventure program is planning a trip to Winter Park, Colorado in 2008. "I can tell everyone that I rafted on the second most difficult and dangerous river in the nation. It was outrageous. It will always be one of the most memorable experiences of my life," said Jamie Fields, a GSC student from Ireland.

Several colleges and universities offer their students some of the activities that the GSC High Adventure program does; however, no other school in the state has such a comprehensive program. "There are some schools in the East that offer the same type of program, but in West Virginia, everyone else is trying to get were GSC already is," said David Bernier, Director of GSC High Adventure and Fitness Center. Bernier is in his fourth year with the High Adventure program. Under his leadership the activities have expanded and the participation numbers continue to grow. During the 2006-2007 academic years, GSC High Adventure had approximately 500 participants in both on and off campus activities.

Rock Climbing at Nelson Rocks

Trips and outings with High Adventure vary in cost depending on the specific activity and the duration of the trip. Some adventures are free to students; others can be fairly expensive such as out-of-state ski trips. The cost to students is kept as low as possible and subsidized through student activity fees. For instance, last year, 29 GSC students went sky-diving in Huntington, West Virginia at a cost of $150 each after the High Adventure program paid $50 per student. Students may pay a per semester fee, which guarantees them a spot in at least eight excursions, or they can pay per adventure.

Glenville State College has the advantage of being located within easy travel of some great High Adventure venues. The Gauley River offers world class whitewater rafting for every level of experience. The annual Bridge Day activities in Fayette County are the second biggest one day extreme sporting event in the United States. West Virginia's ski resorts provide some of the best conditions in the east. The mountains of West Virginia offer opportunities for hiking, backpacking, fishing, and rock climbing. Bernier believes that Glenville State College could benefit by taking advantage of these resources and offering some type of degree program in the recreation and high adventure field. There are jobs available in the travel and recreation industries in West Virginia for those with the proper training. Chapman agrees, "I would like to see Glenville State College offer a two-year degree in the high adventures field and eventually develop a four-year degree program," he said.

GSC Junior Bryan Bush of Roane County, West Virginia, and Josh Meadows, a sophomore at GSC from Parkersburg, West Virginia are sold on the High Adventure program. Both students came to Glenville State College to play football but ended up not going out for the team after their freshmen year. Looking for some other sports activities to participate in, they joined the High Adventure Program, and both have become outdoor enthusiasts. The GSC roommates have become so engrossed in rock climbing and kayaking that they plan to open an extreme sport business in West Virginia. "Neither of us ever did anything like this until we found the High Adventure Program at GSC. Now we want to try to make it a career," said Meadows. And they may get lots of help in their end ever.

The two GSC students have entered the 2008 Statewide Student Business Plan Competition sponsored by the West Virginia University Entrepreneurship Center, and have made it to the finals where one of five plans will win $10,000 to help start their business. Meadows and Bush plan to build an indoor Rock Climbing Gym with an Extreme Sports Equipment store, and offer Rock Climbing and Kayaking Excursions. This is all due to the exposure to the sports they experienced in the GSC High Adventure program.

To find out more about the High Adventure Program at Glenville State College, go online to or contact High Adventure Director, David Bernier, at (304) 462-7361 ext.7441

Paintball trip