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Black Lives Matter

June 03, 2020

  • Silhouette of students at sunset

College Outdoors Summer Newsletter
June 3, 2020

Hello from the CO office and Roundtable,

This week we write in solidarity and support of our community members experiencing and rising up against systemic racism and oppression. The horrific killings of Black Americans is embedded in U.S. history, and the recent murder of George Floyd has brought a necessary national focus to the persistent and deep-rooted systemic injustices within our society.

We hope you will join us in being heartbroken, enraged, and motivated to get to work.

We recognize that the outdoor recreation industry, and College Outdoors specifically, remains a white-dominated space. Working to change ourselves and the organizations we are a part of are vital steps in the pursuit of systemic change, and brings to mind this quote from author and activist Ijeoma Oluo:

“The beauty of anti-racism is that you don’t have to pretend to be free of racism to be an anti-racist. Anti-racism is the commitment to fight racism wherever you find it, including in yourself. And it’s the only way forward”

Please take a moment to read through this article outlining the Characteristics of White Supremacy Culture. You will likely recognize themes that you have experienced in your life, at L&C, and in College Outdoors. By recognizing these characteristics, we can work to change them.

What is College Outdoors doing for racial equity?

There is a lot of critical work to be done, and it begins by recognizing that the student participation in College Outdoors trips is not demographically representative of the LC student body, and the College Outdoors leadership is especially white. Here is a partial list of some of the things we have worked on in the past year:

  • Implementing the Pathway to Leadership scholarship as a means to encourage more Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) students to pursue leadership roles within College Outdoors
  • Critically evaluating how CO represents itself with regards to imagery and language online and in promotional materials
  • Opening a dialogue with the directors of Inclusion and Multicultural Engagement (IME) and the Office of Equity and Inclusion (OEI)
  • Listening to feedback from the student-run Equity, Inclusion, & Justice Committee (EIJC)
  • Partnering with IME to offer IME-CO collaborative trips
  • Joining PSU’s People of Color Climb Night, at no cost to students
  • Adding diversity and inclusion training to NST training, and making it a required part of the 10+1 skills to become a Trip Leader
  • Adding an affirmative diversity statement and Tribal Land Acknowledgement to our brochure and website

As we said, there is still critical work that needs to be done. We understand that these actions are not enough and that being satisfied by these steps would be complacent and racist. We are not finished.

We urge you to join us, only with your help can progress be made. If you have ideas, resources, or energy to contribute to College Outdoors’ efforts on diversity, equity, and inclusion, we want to hear from you. You don’t have to have answers in order to join the conversation and keep pushing us to improve.

You may choose to join this conversation in whatever way you feel appropriate, by sending us an email, sharing with your friends, and hopefully joining us in person back on campus in the fall.


There are many resources available to help you educate yourself and take action. A special Thank You goes to Eliza Auchincloss ’20, for sharing some of these resources with us. Here are a few links to get you started:

Join the L&C Ethnic Studies Forum on The Murder of George Floyd and Police Violence on Thursday, June 4th, 12-1pm Oregon time at

Vote. Inform yourself on local and national issues, and vote in every election. If you aren’t registered, you can do so at

Anti-Racism resources:

Lewis & Clark’s IME Office Virtual Inclusive Community Development Kit:

Watzek Library Diversity and Inclusion Resource Guide- a collection of resources available to check-out and access online:

Support Black-owned businesses in Portland:!directory/ord=rnd

Take action/donate:

Follow outdoor groups that promote Black, Indigenous, and People of Color in outdoor recreation. Here are just a few:

Melanin Basecamp- an organization focusing on diversity in outdoor adventure sports.

Unlikely Hikers- an Instagram that focuses on diversity, community, and body liberation in the outdoors.

Diversify Outdoors- a coalition of social media influencers who share the goal of promoting diversity in outdoor spaces where people of color, LGBTQIA, and other diverse identities have historically been underrepresented.


Please take care of yourselves and each other, and don’t hesitate to reach out if there is anything we can do to support you.

In Community,
Staff members: Kori Rosenstiel, Thom Lehman, and Joe Yuska
Roundtable members: Katie Varness ’21, Michael Mulrennan ’22, Satya Austin-Opper ’22, Makayla Simmer ’21
Intern: Grace Ralston ’21

College Outdoors and the student-steering committee, Roundtable, sends out a weekly newsletter. Sign up here.