On Thursday, March 23, on the second floor of Stover Center in the Student Organization Room, Waynesburg University’s Peer Educators (Peer Ed) hosted “Lost Within The Trees,” an event designed to promote the benefits of spending time outdoors.
Some features of the event included a tent, a hammock, a list of hiking destinations in Waynesburg and construction paper that encouraged students to think of their outdoor experiences.
“The goal [of the project] is to be able to demonstrate how being outside has benefits for our emotional, spiritual and physical health,” said Renee Belisky, a senior psychology major who worked with Peer Ed in planning the event.
Belisky had envisioned this type of event since the Fall 2016 Semester and proposed her idea to Peer Ed. According to Belisky, planning the event was not overly complex.
“We really just needed a tent, a hammock, and some information,” said Belisky. “So not a whole lot of planning.”
For Belisky, an objective for the event was to raise awareness for people who do not take full advantage of the outdoors.
“I think it’s a good time to just be able to be still for a little bit and just to kind of stop,” said Belisky. “To show that there’s a great resource right there that we can go and do that. A lot of people, I feel like, don’t take complete benefit, or be able to see that no matter what your skill level is, you can still benefit from being outside.”
Belisky said that she had loved the outdoors for a while, but that love blossomed this past summer when she lived and worked at Mt. Rushmore through “A Christian Ministry in the National Parks.”
“[Mt. Rushmore] was pretty much my playground, in a way,” said Belisky.
Of all the things that Belisky enjoyed about putting the event together, she said that, in particular, she enjoyed something that related to her major.
“Probably looking about how [the outdoors] helps with mental health, just because of my major, but also being able to incorporate my love with the outdoors,” said Belisky. “I really liked being able to see how it’s impacted my life, but also being able to share that passion with others I think was my overall excitement.”
Another psychology major who contributed in planning “Lost Within the Trees” was junior Lauren Bailey. Bailey was involved in putting together the specific features for the event, and also did research on the benefits of being outdoors, as well as parks where students can be outside.
“I just really love being outside,” said Bailey. “I can see the benefits myself of when I spend time outside and when I don’t spend time outside, so I think it’s something important to educate students on.”
For Bailey, the biggest thing that the event showed was the educational aspect of being outdoors, as well as specific ways to experience those benefits.