ISU’s field campus provides learning opportunity
Published: Friday, February 25, 2011
Updated: Friday, February 25, 2011 00:02
The ISU field campus, which is located off of US 40, features 60 acres of reclaimed field mining area. Camping areas, fire pit/cooking areas, a classroom space, canoeing and boating options, as well as team initiative courses, are just a small part of what makes up the facilities.
"The facility was originally an area to pay to fish, and some of the original structures are used for classroom space," said Steven Smidley, department chairperson of recreation and sport management.
"The campus was used at least 5,000 times in the last year alone, and different groups from elementary schools to classes here at ISU use the facility. However, that has not stopped budget cuts from happening. Luckily, there were only minor cuts to the budget for the field campus," Smidley said.
"In the last several years only supplies and maintenance has been cut, but not drastically; fortunately we have not been hit too badly," Smidley commented.
However, they are looking up to the future.
"The department of recreation and sport management is looking to add a minor, a student line of expeditions and provide general students with the abilities to go on trips," Smidley said.
"In the mid-1960s, a family ran it as a pay fishing area, it fell under and ISU bought it. The main building was originally bought by a previous owner, and is [currently] being used as a classroom," said Smidley.
"The university offers the space as a place for classrooms and for students, faculty, and staff to hone in on their leadership abilities," said Smidley.
"[The] main attraction for the university to come out and use the space is the team initiative course," said Smidley.
"The team initiative course offers students the ability through the obstacle course to learn leadership, communication, trust, self-awareness and cooperation through obstacles," said Smidley.
One of the distinct courses offers a high ropes course that extends 35 feet into the trees. The actual course is set with netting and pulley systems to which students are connected, to keep safe.
"[It] creates problem- solving skills, using perceived risk to motivate [students]," Smidley said.
Logan Fulford, a senior biology major, said he has personally used the field campus "for a summer honors counselor bonding experience."
Another popular use for the field campus is for classes.
"Outdoor living skills are offered for a week long course during the second week of May, and the science department uses the [campus] for biology courses," Smidley said.
Renee Buettner, a sophomore nursing major, said that besides bonding experiences, it also creates a different classroom environment.
"There is a benefit to the field campus, that is different, while allowing for students to use hands on activities, as well as the ability to learn outside the traditional [classroom] setting," Buettner said.