After moving out of the Reitz Union, fewer students are using UF’s outdoor gear rental program.
Now with its own building behind Southwest Recreation Center, not as many people pass by the Center for Outdoor Recreation and Education’s as they did when the program was located in the Reitz, said Hannah Brock, the CORE program assistant. The center held a grand opening Sept. 16.
“It’s not as busy as we’d like it to be,” Brock said. “When you are located behind Southwest Rec, you don’t really have the same sort of foot traffic that you would at the Reitz Union, so it’s been a challenge getting the word out there about CORE and what we offer exactly.”
The center offers a rental program for outdoor gear, guided trips, custom trips, workshops and other resources to UF students, she said.
Courtney Kramer, 21, spent one weekend earlier this month climbing a cliff on Yonah Mountain in Georgia. She rented size-9 climbing shoes for $5 from the center after she heard about the rental program through the UF Outdoor Adventure Recreation Facebook group.
“Going into the CORE facility, the staff was exceptionally helpful,” the UF environmental geosciences sophomore said.
To promote the new location, CORE is reaching out to students on social media platforms including Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter, said Jackie Matthews, the CORE coordinator. Students driving by the building on Bledsoe Drive will also see camping gear displayed outside to entice students to come in.
“We really want to invite as many people to come into the warehouse because it’s such a cool space,” Matthews said.
Matthews said she hopes to reach more students through word of mouth. Some of her plans for the program in the future include partnering with UF’s Department of Emergency Medicine for workshops and planning new trips for the Spring semester.
Catherine Cramp, the RecSports senior associate director, said she hopes to get student feedback on how to improve the center.
“Send us trips that you want to do,” she said. “It does not just have to be an outdoor trip; it can be a fun adventure trip.”