The Catholic University of America

Sept. 27, 2010

Students Get Off the Treadmill on Cardinal Adventures

  CUA students went whitewater rafting in September as part of Cardinal Adventures.

Earlier this month, 17 CUA students journeyed to the Gauley River in West Virginia for a 17-mile whitewater rafting adventure that featured more than 70 rapids, canyon scenery, rollercoaster waves and powerful hydraulics.

The trip was one of several offered annually by Cardinal Adventures, an off-campus program started by Marie Kennedy, fitness director of CUA’s Eugene I. Kane Student Health and Fitness Center. Kennedy said several years ago students asked her what there was to do in the area. She got together with Kathryn Jennings, associate dean of students, to create Cardinal Adventures to help students take advantage of the many attractions in the area.

Kennedy says the program, now in its fourth year, provides students with healthy activities that also enable them to meet new people and try new things. The outings usually consist of 15 to 20 people so that students get to know other participants.

Past activities have included kayaking, rock climbing and skiing as well as visits to museums, concerts and theme parks. “These activities are a chance to learn something new and maybe pick up a healthy activity that doesn’t necessarily have to be done in the gym,” Kennedy says.

Trip costs are also kept low, usually between $10 and $15, so that students can easily afford the adventures. Students take the Metrorail system or ride in university vans to keep costs down.

The adventures aren’t just for students. Faculty and staff are encouraged to participate as well. Although outings so far have mainly consisted of students, Kennedy says the trips could give faculty and staff a chance to connect with students off campus.

Last weekend’s Cardinal Adventure was a hike in Shenandoah National Park. Also on the schedule is an indoor rock climbing trip — which includes a lesson — on Nov. 5.

In the winter, Cardinal Adventures offers a weekly ski trip every Wednesday night to the Whitetail Resort in Mercersburg, Pa. For $30, students get transportation, a lesson, ski or snowboard rental, and ski lift tickets. Students may also opt to go snow tubing instead. Those trips depart campus around 3:30 p.m. and return at approximately midnight.

More trips are being planned for the spring.

Kennedy encourages students to “try an adventure— pick something you’ve never done before.” She wants students to come back from these excursions with an activity they enjoy, new friends and a positive impression about being active.

“Fitness does not have to mean tying yourself to a treadmill,” she says.

Those interested in signing up for trips can do so in the fitness center. For more information or to suggest ideas for future adventures, contact Marie Kennedy at or call 202-319-5705.

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