Outdoor Recreation Center celebrates 50th anniversary

Founder will share photos, stories from first 30 years; in-person attendees do not need to register



The Outdoor Recreation Center is hosting founder Chris Tapfer, who will share photos and stories from early trips, such as multiweek expeditions that the ORC would not be able to do today.

EMMA LEDBETTER, Evergreen news editor

The WSU Outdoor Recreation Center is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a presentation and light refreshments from 4-7 p.m. Thursday in the ORC lobby.

ORC founder Chris Tapfer will share photos and stories from the first 30 years of outdoor programming at WSU, said Jonathan Stahl, assistant director of adventure programs and experiential learning.

“[Chris] is retired … but he’s still really passionate about the work that he’s done for the outdoors,” Stahl said. 

The ORC was able to do trips in the 70s and 80s that it would not be allowed to do today, like multiweek expeditions, he said.

Stahl said he and former ORC director Mike Petlovany will also present about the last 20 years of ORC trips. 

There is always something going on in the ORC lobby, whether it is students returning rental gear or preparing to leave for a trip. Stahl said this is the thing he has enjoyed most in his 13 years working at the ORC.

“There’s all this positive energy surrounding all those types of activities … I live for it,” he said. “There’s this sense of ‘stoke’ that goes along with these adventures.”

Adventure facilitator Alana Duvall said she is excited to see people in the ORC lobby for a special occasion.

“Instead of going to the ORC for work or going to the ORC to rent something out, it’ll be nice to go there and just talk to everyone and hang out with everyone outside of a working environment,” she said.

Duvall said she looked through several hours of footage from ORC raft trips to find the best clips to share with event attendees. 

The ORC strives to serve as many WSU students as possible with rentals, clinics and trips, Stahl said. Students are also trained to lead outdoor expeditions. 

People do not need to register for the event unless they are planning to attend virtually. People interested in attending online can register on the ORC website to receive a Zoom link, Stahl said. 

Refreshments and swag will be provided at the event, he said.