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Gear repair clinic encourages sustainability, inclusivity

AJ Verkouw, assistant director of Outdoor Program, and Joe Richardson, student employee at the Outdoor Program and senior recreational environmental leadership major, repair ski goggles in the Outdoor Program office Nov. 2. Verkouw said he hopes students know the Outdoor Program office is always open and willing to help people out with gear repairs or questions whenever they need it. Photo courtesy of Sophie Killilea.

The Outdoor Program at Westminster College hosted a gear repair clinic a month after the used gear sale, in the Health, Wellness and Athletic Center Nov. 2. The event was held in an effort to invite students into the office who wouldn’t normally stop by and encourage people that really nice gear isn’t necessary to go outside, according to AJ Verkouw, assistant director of Outdoor Programs. 

“We just wanted to have an event on the books during this time of the semester to bring people in and we also got the idea after our used gear sale,” Verkouw said. 

Verkouw said since there were many items sold during the gear sale, the Outdoor Program also wanted to give people the chance to get additional repairs and show them how it’s done, according to Verkouw. 

“It feels good to us to help people maintain their gear and kind of reinforce that you don’t have to have super new fancy gear to go outside,” Verkouw said. “It’s [also] a useful life skill that we feel like we can be a part of helping develop.” 

Joe Richardson, student employee at the Outdoor Program and senior recreational environmental leadership major,said gear repairs are a huge aspect of his job, and a lot of the employees try to fix things up throughout their shifts. 

“I’m teaching myself how to sow so I can get better at it if I need to help people sow stuff, that’s what I’ve been doing for the last hour and a half,” Richardson said. 

Richardson said a lot of his knowledge came from watching YouTube and asking Verkouw and the Outdoor Program Director, Tiana White questions.. 

While a few people attended the event, Richardson said there wasn’t a set goal, the Outdoor Program just wanted to give students a chance to learn more about gear repair. 

“We helped some students with this, so our goal was reached,” Richardson said. 

The Outdoor Program advertised this event using a variety of Westminster College’s resources and posting about the event to their Instagram, according to Verkouw. 

Ashley Nye, a senior business major, said she’s pretty involved with the Outdoor Program and has gone on trips with them in the past. 

“I heard about the event but didn’t have time to go to it [that day],” Nye said. “I wish I had been able to since it seems really useful and I have gear that I’d like to learn how to fix.”

Verkouw said he hopes students know the Outdoor Program office is always open and willing to help people out with gear repairs or questions whenever they need it. 

“Even when we’re not holding a clinic, the [Outdoor Program] is a place you can come in and ask for advice on how to repair your stuff anytime,” Verkouw said.

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Sophia Killilea is a senior communication major and outdoor education & leadership minor at Westminster College. She's from Boston, MA but moved out to Utah in August of 2018 to begin her first year of college. She enjoys skiing, hiking, and binge watching way too many TV shows.

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