One of the valuable resources that Fort Lewis College students enjoy is the location in which the college resides. Durango and the Four Corners region is one of the best outdoor classrooms and laboratories in the country. The region’s rivers are, and have been, a particularly rich asset for FLC students from across campus to utilize.
The opportunity for the College to purchase a river company recently came to the attention of the Fort Lewis College Foundation. Seeing the potential curricular and co-curricular synergies for the College, the Foundation began a fundraising campaign with the goal of raising $100,000 toward the acquisition of the river company. This initial campaign would allow the Foundation to see if there was interest among the alumni and supporters of the College in pursuing this purchase. Today, the campaign, which includes a $25,000 crowdfunding effort, has raised approximately 90 percent of its goal.
If the purchase is made, the aim of the College would not be to operate a river/rafting company as a commercial enterprise. Instead, the primary interest would be to obtain the river permits that the purchase would include, in addition to the river equipment. The permits, which would allow access to the Rio Chama and San Juan rivers in New Mexico and the Salt River in Arizona, would be difficult to get otherwise. Very few campuses have this type of resource, which magnifies the impact for FLC.
“The College would not be offering rafting trips to tourists or the general public,” explains FLC Vice President for Advancement Mark Jastorff. “That is the domain of the various rafting companies in town, and they do a great job. Our focus is on the academic and student life applications.”
There may be times when the College would take a group of College-affiliated, non-students on a river trip, but those would be special occasions, not regular occurrences.
“This is about creating unique opportunities and to expand our access so that we can fully integrate our location’s amazing offerings into our academic curriculum and student life programs, which helps with recruitment and retention,” says Mark. “The idea of having a resource that would integrate into majors from across campus, and that provides additional chances for our students to fully appreciate what the Southwest has to offer, would make Fort Lewis College a stronger choice to live and learn.”
The fundraising efforts for this potentially exciting opportunity are ongoing. The crowdfunding portion of the campaign is underway to match a $25,000 gift committed by a private donor. Learn more at https://crowdfunding.fortlewis.edu.
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