If I were to name the three most precious resources of life, I should say books, friends, and nature; and the greatest of these, at least the most constant and always at hand, is nature.
– John Burroughs; American naturalist
SC Outfitters has the ultimate goal of allowing any student at the University of Southern California the opportunity to escape from the urban confines of campus and spend some thoughtful time experiencing the beauty and adventure of nature. However, we are still a long ways off from this goal, but with your help, we can get there much sooner.
Our Present Accomplishments
In SC Outfitters short 5-year history, we have made great strides, including:
- Running an OutdoOrientation program for Freshman and Transfer students every year
- Running an AdevtureLEAD excursion for the Office of Campus Activities
- Creating a Membership program to offer students gear discounts from Backcountry.com as well as create a community on campus of those who are enthusiastic in the outdoors
- Planning and hosting a Wilderness First Responder training course on campus, open to all students and mandatory for our guides, to ensure the utmost safety and emergency preparedness on our trips
- Partnering with USC Transportation for the use of one van to use for some trips
- Acquiring a small amount of gear for use by our participants free-of-charge, including backpacks, tents, and sleeping bags
- Giving nearly 1000 USC students the opportunity to experience the natural beauty of Southern California and beyond on over 160 trips
Our Future Plans
We release our trips to students in monthly cycles, and despite having over 100 spots for participants, our trips completely sell out within a few hours (some within a few minutes). The only way to remedy this is to offer more trips, but we are currently limited in our capacity to do so.
- We would like to set up a gear fund to keep our current gear in the best shape possible and expand our gear resources. Our gear gets used every weekend, many things including stoves, climbing equipment, and backpacks get worn out or broken. In addition, our limited gear limits the number trips we can have on a given weekend.
- Each year, we want to make sure our current guides are fully prepared for any emergency that might happen in the outdoors. For the past three years we have run a Wilderness First Responder course that the Undergraduate Student Government has contributed towards, but due to the high cost of the certification (over 70 hours of training), our unpaid volunteer guides have each had to front a cost of over $200 per person. We want to lower this cost to zero.
- The largest limiting factor of how many trips we run and how many students we can take is transportation. For most trips we end up using our guides’ cars, which can only hold 3-4 participants, and guides who do not own a car are even more limited in trips they can run. We sometimes have the chance to rent one 10-person van from USC Transportation, but this comes with a high rental cost in addition to the cost of fuel. One ambitious goal we have discussed is for our organization to buy or lease a 14-person van, but this comes with its own set of challenges. Ultimately we need a better system for securing transportation at a low cost to participants and we’re not sure what the best solution is at present.
- Despite our strong online presence, we have a lot of room for improvement in our technological infrastructure, including lowering fees charged by our service providers on the tickets we sell for our trips. We would like to automate more tasks such as refund and waitlist processing, and of course increase our server’s response times.
How you can help
- If you are a gear providers or outdoor retailer and would like to help us with some of these costs, perhaps by letting us test or review gear on our trips, please let us know.
- If you have access to transportation or would be willing to help us find sustainable long-term transportation solutions, please get in touch.
- If you are a developer or have access to technical infrastructure including servers or company partnerships, please send a note.
- Finally, if you would like to make a financial contribution, please contact us or use the paypal button below