Aug 212011
Authors: Krtisten Gaede

Twenty sweaty CSU students and staff members looked up at the 52-foot-tall beams that support the university’s Challenge Course’s ropes, catwalks and tight wires.

These non-traditional students and veterans were invited to experience the course on Sunday as part of Ram Welcome week.

The event was organized by the office of Adult Learners and Veteran Services (ALVS) headed by Jan Rastall, the director of the ALVS office.

Rastall wanted students to challenge themselves to do something new in a supportive environment.

“It’s a great opportunity to get adult learners and veterans out of their comfort zone and ready for the semester,” Rastall said.

The CSU Challenge Course on Centre Avenue –– south of Prospect Road –– is an outdoor ropes course, climbing wall and giant swing. The lower level beams and ropes are 25 feet high, the highest ropes and catwalks ranging from 35 to 40 feet high.

The course serves the campus and the entire community by holding more than 370 events a year, sometimes two-a-day for 15 days straight.

Rodney Ley, Campus Recreation assistant director, led the event and called it a “challenge by choice” exercise to build leadership skills, teamwork “and anything that can make a group stronger.”

There have been no major injuries in the course’s history, but when you don’t listen to the instructors, it is possible, Ley said.

“I didn’t listen to the instructor when I was on the swing and I jumped from the front of the platform instead of to the side, like he said, and I hurt my neck a bit,” said Megan Polley, a non-traditional biology major who is starting her junior year at CSU this semester.

“Be safe, have fun and learn something about yourself and others. Come out for a purpose. We are not Elitch Gardens, we are out here to serve the community,” Ley said.

The most popular attraction was the 25-foot-high swing, which made even the toughest of veterans squeal.

“It was outstanding, fun and challenging, (the staff) made it safe and fun,” said veteran and junior engineering major Joshua Lee. “It was really cool to do it with a lot of other veterans.”

Collegian writer Kristen Gaede can be reached at

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