CDI Outside: Paving the way for Minorities in the Outdoors

Realizing that ethnically diverse people are often a minority when it comes to outdoor involvement, the Center for Diversity and Inclusion is starting “CDI Outside,” a program revolved around helping diverse individuals feel more comfortable exploring the outdoors.

While sitting in a foundation class for Outdoor Recreation in Parks and Tourism,  junior Evelyn Zavala noticed she was the only person of her ethnicity in the room. She also realized that she is a minority in her major. Then a unique experience inspired her to change this.

“When we went to a Canyoneering lesson in Zion they had this wonderful man of color teaching the lesson and he was so confident.” Zavala said. “I was inspired just by seeing a person of color outdoors because it’s not that common. He helped me feel way more comfortable and I realized I want to be that person for others”

The program was created in December with Zavala at the head. There are currently three trips in the plans for this semester and the first one is an adventure in Zion on Feb. 25.

The trips are intended to be educational, as well as help students destress. It’s an opportunity not only to experience the outdoors but to learn more about the culture behind it and ways to keep it alive.

The sign up can be found at Suu Outdoors, located in the student center next to Chick-Fil-A. There is room for 10 on the trip.

The goal is to have this extend beyond the university and include everyone in the community. It doesn’t matter whether or not someone is an “outdoorsy” person. This is an opportunity with the goal to change that if not.

“I want people to get uncomfortable doing something new but with people and an environment they feel comfortable doing it with,” Zavala said.

To learn more about the program or the center for Diversity and Inclusion, visit their website or stop by across the hall from the admissions office in the student center.

Story by: Larissa Beatty
Photos by: Reyce Knutson